Sunday, January 12, 2014

Flyers fall to Rangers, completing lost weekend

New York, NY -- You'd hate to think the four points lost this weekend to a pair of conference foes who will have something to say in the Eastern Conference playoff race wouldn't come back to haunt the Flyers, but that might not be the case unless there's another hot streak in the offing before the Olympic break.

Daniel Carcillo, Rick Nash and Derick Brassard tallied in a span of seven-plus minutes early in the contest, and Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves to lead the New York Rangers over Philadelphia, 4-1, at Madison Square Garden.

"The way we started the game helped everyone in here. We got the crowd going and we got ourselves going," said the winning netminder, who is the odds-on favorite to backstop his native Sweden in Sochi next month.

Chris Kreider added a goal and one assist for the Rangers, who moved into a second-place tie with Washington in the Metropolitan Division. Both clubs have 51 points, 17 behind idle Pittsburgh.

Mark Streit provided the lone offense for the Flyers, who lost back-to-back games this weekend after winning seven of their previous eight. Ray Emery allowed all four scores on 35 shots in defeat, the first time all season the club has dropped consecutive games on consecutive days.

Craig Berube's team slipped to fourth in the division, something in the forefront of his mind in the post-game. "The division is so tight. You lose one or two and you're in fourth now.

"You've got to win your games and that's all you should look at."

Ahead on the schedule are contests at Buffalo on Tuesday, home against Nashville on Thursday and then back-to-backs against the Islanders Saturday and next Monday afternoon on Long Island. Points in all are an absolute must. 

Other than surrendering 10 goals in the two regulation losses, the only controversy to be found was the scratching of Steve Downie in favor of Jay Rosehill, who was a minus-1 in eight shifts over five minutes of ice time.

The hosts got on the board just 2:14 after the opening faceoff, when Streit's attempted clear found the stick of Carcillo for a wraparound at the left post.

"It's nice you know? I haven't scored in a long time," said Carcillo, the ex-Flyer who hadn't produced a red light since Oct. 13 with the Kings. "I was just trying to take the puck hard to the net. I didn't see a gap, but I know I surprised (Emery) a bit."

Only 28 seconds later, it was 2-0 after a blistering low shot from Nash eluded Emery's outstretched pad, slid inside the left post and in.

Despite six shots on their first power-play chance of the game, the Flyers didn't solve Lundqvist, and the Rangers went up 3-0 minutes later on a one- timer from Brassard that resulted from a Mats Zuccarello dish.

A potential fourth goal from New York inside of two minutes left in the period was wiped out due to a delayed penalty call against the Flyers and the officials ruling that Emery touched the puck before Brassard was able to stuff it home.

The visitors prevented further damage and trailed just 3-0 despite a 17-13 shot edge, then killed off a brief two-man disadvantage at the outset of the second.

Ryan McDonagh missed a one-timer from the right side at an open net early in a Rangers power play at the midway point of regulation, but Kreider didn't miss in close thanks to a deflection off Philly defenseman Braydon Coburn's skate on a subsequent advantage and it was 4-0 for the hosts with 6:42 remaining.

"We talk about it all the time. It's got to stop, Berube said about the lack of team-wide discipline which led to the Flyers being the most penalized team in the NHL. "I stressed it before the game, about not taking penalties. We use certain guys killing penalties and they end up playing too much. We just can't take them. You can't put your team in a hole like that."

Lundqvist almost let a floater from center ice by Brayden Schenn get by him early in the third, but the puck caromed off the far post.

Streit eventually put the visitors on the board during a power play thanks to a blistering point drive through a Tye McGinn screen at the 6:49 mark. Lundqvist stopped the remaining 14 Philadelphia shots in the period to claim victory.

Notes: Philly had gone 9-1 this season when faced with back-to-back contests ... The Rangers have won seven in a row against the Flyers in Manhattan, since dropping a 4-2 decision on Feb. 20, 2011 ... Entering play, Emery had been 7-1-0 with a 1.62 goals-against and .943 save percentage against the Blueshirts ... Kreider's power-play goal snapped Philly's streak of 26 straight short-handed kills ... Vincent Lecavalier notched his 500th career assist on his club's lone tally ... Claude Giroux was held off the scoreboard on his 26th birthday.
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