Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flyers lose eighth straight in Manhattan

New York, NY -- Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 30 shots and the New York Rangers created some distance from the Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division race by notching a 3-1 victory in a key late-season matchup.

Lundqvist's effort was supported by goals from Derek Dorsett, Ryan McDonagh and Dominic Moore and ran the Rangers' win streak to a season-high five games.

The result also moved New York three points ahead of the Flyers (86-83) for second place in the division, though Philadelphia still has two games in hand.

"I think both teams tonight knew the importance of this game, as far as we're battling for a playoff spot, battling for a playoff position," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault.

Lundqvist took a shutout deep into the third period before Jakub Voracek spoiled the bid with 1:53
remaining.

Steve Mason stopped 26 shots in the loss, the Flyers' eighth straight in regulation at Madison Square Garden since a 4-2 decision over the Blueshirts on Feb. 20, 2011. Claude Giroux, who was held to a secondary assist on his club's lone goal by Jakub Voracek, acknowledged his team might be a bit tired given the stretch of seven games in 12 days.

"I didn't think in the second period we were nearly intense enough or strong enough on the walls or did enough little things out there," Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said. "They checked well, they were on us, and we kind of just let it happen. Not enough fight tonight."

The road doesn't get any easier, with the season's final 10 contests wedged into 17 days from Friday's home contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Berube least of all can't afford more results where he has to eat crow due to pregame comments.

Lundqvist was razor-sharp during an opening period in which the Flyers mostly dominated but the Rangers came up with the lone goal, despite being outshot by a 15-6 margin for the frame.

A strong shift from the fourth line sent New York ahead, as Brian Boyle got to a puck whipped around the boards by Mason and fired a shot that was blocked in front of the net. Dorsett raced in unguarded, however, to put in the rebound 8:41 in.

"It's great to see him get rewarded there," linemate Dominic Moore said. "A great play by Boyler to get the puck to the net right away and a good play by 'Dors' to be on the doorstep."

The Rangers then picked it up in the second period, peppering Mason with 17 shots and grabbing a 2-0 lead when McDonagh skated into the Flyers' zone and ripped a wrister into the top right corner of the net with 5:34 elapsed in the session.

Moore made it a 3-0 game with 12:21 left to play, redirecting Kevin Klein's long drive through Mason's pads after Dorsett knocked Philadelphia's Michael Raffl off the puck.

Voracek finally got the Flyers on the boards with a wicked one-timer over Lundqvist's glove off a Mark Streit give with under two minutes left. Philadelphia recorded two more shots on goal on a late power-play chance, but Lundqvist stopped both attempts.

Notes: The Rangers have outscored Philadelphia by a 31-9 margin during their eight- game home win streak in the series, with Lundqvist between the pipes for each of those victories ... This marks the longest stretch of futility for the Flyers in Manhattan since losing 11 in a row from Jan. 14, 1990 to Nov. 4, 1992 ... Prior to the game, the Rangers announced forward Chris Kreider will be sidelined indefinitely with a reported broken left hand. Forward J.T. Miller was recalled from Hartford of the AHL to take his place ... Voracek's goal was the 100th of his career and he's now scored in three consecutive games while recording a point in four straight ... McDonagh has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak.
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