Flyers fall to Rangers, 5-2

A defenseless Sergei Bobrovsky watches a puck off the stick of New York's Ryan Callahan sail past for the Rangers' fifth goal.
A defenseless Sergei Bobrovsky watches a puck off the stick of New York's Ryan Callahan sail past for the Rangers' fifth goal. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 12, 2012

Except for a third-period fight that featured a takedown by Wayne Simmonds, little else brought Flyers fans to their feet Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers, in another lackluster matinee showing, yielded three power-play tallies, converted only one of 18 second-period shots, and bowed to the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers, 5-2, in front of 19,950.

Continuing its recent dominance in the series, New York won for the fifth straight time this season, all in regulation. The Flyers are 0-6-1 in the last seven meetings. It's their longest losing streak against the Blueshirts since they dropped 10 in a row from 1971 to 1973.

"We know they're big games against Philly," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "It's not that we think we have something that is a magic weapon against them. We have a great goalie, we have a good team, and we're just coming in and playing."

For New York, which extended its division lead on the Flyers to six points, goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned away 31 shots. Ryan Callahan spurred the offense, notching his second career hat trick (both against the Flyers).

"They play the same way every night," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said of New York. "And if there's a breakdown, their goalie makes the save. They somehow get the job done."

The Rangers (35-13-5) came into the contest ranked No. 27 in the league on the power play. This time, they made good on three of their first four five-on-four chances. It's the third time this season, including twice at home, that the Flyers (31-17-7) have surrendered three power-play goals in a game.

"Our [penalty killing] has to be better," center Claude Giroux said. "We have to do a better job of protecting [goalie Sergei Bobrovsky]. We have to learn from it."

Said coach Peter Laviolette: "We need to be better there. I'm not going to make any excuses. It's got to get better."

Bobrovsky, making his second straight start, stopped 21 shots. Both of New York's third-period tallies came at even strength.

"I thought [Bobrovsky] did a good job," Laviolette said. "But their power play was dangerous. They moved the puck well."

Ahead by 3-2 heading into the final period, the Rangers gained insurance on Artem Anisimov's goal with 13 minutes, 32 seconds left to play. Callahan's third goal came with 9:35 remaining.

"I don't think we own [the Flyers] by any stretch," Callahan said. "They are close games. It could go either way. It's two good teams battling out there, and we've just come out on top."

In the seventh minute of the second period, Giroux, on a right-side breakaway, fooled Lundqvist and, with his 22d goal of the season, made it 2-2.

With less than four minutes remaining in the first period, Gaborik took a feed from Richards and one-timed a shot past Bobrovsky. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros was in the box at the time for hooking.

Along with a first-period goal, his 18th, and the fight, he also had an assist, giving him the three elements that constitute a "Gordie Howe hat trick."

Notes. The Flyers play Sunday night in Detroit, where the Red Wings own a 19-game home winning streak. With a victory at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings would tie the NHL record for consecutive home wins, currently shared by Boston (1929-30) and the Flyers (1975-76). . . .


The Dominance Continues

The season series between the Flyers and Rangers has been a mauling. New York, led by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, has swept through five games against two goalies in three venues without so much as an overtime. Here are the one-sided details:

NOV. 26: RANGERS 2, FLYERS 0

At Madison Square Garden

 Lundqvist lament: He makes 29 saves in the second of what is now 6 shutouts this season. The Flyers' Sergei Bobrovsky is good but not good enough.

DEC. 23: RANGERS 4, FLYERS 2

At Madison Square Garden

 Lundqvist lament: His 28 saves baffle the Flyers. The Rangers take a 3-0 lead on Ilya Bryzgalov before the Flyers make a mini-comeback in the third period.

JAN. 2: RANGERS 3, FLYERS 2 (WINTER CLASSIC)

At Citizens Bank Park

Lundqvist lament: He gives a 2-0 lead to the Flyers in the second period, then stones them the rest of the way as New York scores three goals against Bobrovsky. Added indignation: Bryzgalov, spotlighted in HBO's Winter Classic reality show leading up to the game, doesn't start because he's in a slump.

FEB. 5: RANGERS 5, FLYERS 2

At Madison Square Garden

Lundqvist lament: He allows a game-tying goal early in the third period, then watches his teammates score twice on Bryzgalov and add an empty-netter.

FEB. 11: RANGERS 5, FLYERS 2

At the Wells Fargo Center

Lundqvist lament: He allows a game-tying goal early in the second period, then - stop if you heard this before - sees his teammates score three to pull away. Bobrovsky falls to 0-3 vs. Lundqvist.

- Gary Potosky


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com, or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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