for this game

Rangers build big lead, hang on to edge Flyers

Oct 12, 2008 - 4:10 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Sarah Palin's presence did nothing to inspire the Philadelphia Flyers early. It had an entirely different effect on the New York Rangers.

Nikolai Zherdev and Blair Betts each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers built a four-goal lead in the first period and held on to post a 4-3 triumph over the Flyers on Saturday.

Fredrik Sjostrom and defenseman Michal Rozsival also tallied for the Rangers, who have won their first four games of the season for the first time since 1983-84.

"We're learning how to win," said New York's Scott Gomez, who had an assist. "A lot of teams haven't played yet, so we've had a jump on the competition. We've got a lot of room for improvement. When you look at the division, we'll take the early points because you never know what is going to happen."

Blue-liner Daniel Girardi notched two assists and Stephen Valiquette made 25 saves for New York, which has won eight of its last nine visits to Philadelphia.

Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne and captain Mike Richards scored for the Flyers, who fell to 18-18-7 in season openers.

"I wouldn't say (we were) overwhelmed," Richards said. "I just don't think we were ready to play. A couple bad breaks. We got caught behind the eight ball early."

The governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, Palin was on hand at the Wachovia Center to drop the ceremonial first puck. Not coincidentally, the faceoff was taken by Richards and Gomez, a native of Anchorage.

"Politics aside, as far as a fellow Alaskan seeing someone else from the home state doing well, yeah, you're proud," Gomez said. "She is proud of me and I am proud of her. As a fellow Alaskan, it's good to see."

While the fans in Philadelphia had a mixed reaction toward Palin, the Rangers apparently were pumped up by her appearance as they scored three times in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the contest and added a fourth goal with 3:47 remaining in the first to create a 4-0 lead and chase goaltender Martin Biron.

"I just think the first period got away from us," Biron said. "That's a team that has been playing a little bit. They got in and had regular-season speed and regular-season tempo."

Zherdev began the outburst at 4:12, banging in a loose puck from the left side of the net for his second goal of the season. The 23-year-old Ukrainian helped make it 2-0 just 63 seconds later, making a pass from behind the net to Betts, who fired the puck between Biron's pads from the doorstep.

"It was a good pass from Zherdev," Betts said. "It was a no-look, and I don't think that the goalie expected it. I didn't take much time getting the shot off. I think the shot surprised the goalie."

Sjostrom tripled the advantage at 8:30, hustling down the ice to gain possession of Betts' dump-in in the left corner and skating behind the net before wrapping the puck inside the right goalpost. Rozsival capped the uprising at 16:13 with a one-timer from the blue line during a power play.

"Often times, the job of a goalie is just to weather the storm a little bit and make every save you can and give your team a chance to get themselves going," Biron said. "That's what I was asked. I didn't do it."

That goal proved to be the decisive one as the Flyers tallied twice in the middle period and once in the third.

"To put the first four goals in the net was big for us," Betts said. "At the same time, playing with a four-goal lead, it's tough to continue to do the little things and being good defensively. With the offense they had, they gave us a good run at the end."

At 3:13 of the second, Glen Metropolit won a faceoff in the left circle and drew the puck back to Hartnell, who fired it past Valiquette for a shorthanded goal.

Playing for the first time since February 12 due to a concussion, Gagne cut the deficit to 4-2 with 3:51 left in the session, unleashing a shot that bounced off the crossbar and Valiquette before crossing the goal line.

Daniel Briere, who collected two assists, made a superb pass to draw Philadelphia within one. At 5:38 of the third, Briere carried down the right wing and dished to Richards, who tapped in the puck from the doorstep for his first goal.

"I thought in the second and third periods, we did a lot of better things and started taking over the game," Richards said. "Just a little late."

Richards nearly evened the contest with 9:09 remaining, but his shot hit the left goalpost.

"The way we resisted their onslaught was important to us," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "But what was even more important was the way we handed it back to them. With mismanagement of the puck, extended shifts and getting out of sync of what we were trying to do to control the hockey game."

In improving to 5-1-1 lifetime against Philadelphia, Valiquette received plenty of help from New York's penalty-killing unit. Entering a perfect 12-for-12 while shorthanded, the Rangers successfully killed all six of the Flyers' power plays, including a 5-on-3 midway through the third period that lasted over a minute.

"Maybe it's watching the 'Rocky' movie before the game, or Elton John's (song) 'Philadelphia Freedom,'" said Valiquette, who is 4-0-1 in the City of Brotherly Love. "There are a few landmark movies and songs that you can watch or listen to when you come to Philadelphia to get you excited to play here. This is a great city and a great building to play in. Most goalies will tell you that there is no better challenge than to play in Philadelphia."

Biron allowed four goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Antero Niittymaki, who stopped all 13 shots he faced.

"I thought Niitty came in and made some terrific saves and gave us the chance to win," Flyers coach John Stevens said.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 4 0 0 4
    PHILADELPHIA 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 2 (AARON VOROS, DAN GIRARDI) 4:12
    NYR - BLAIR BETTS 1 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, DAN GIRARDI) 5:15
    NYR - FREDRIK SJOSTROM 1 (BLAIR BETTS, COLTON ORR) 8:30
    NYR - (PP) MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, MARKUS

    Oct 11 9:50 PM
  • 25
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Rangers 4, Flyers 3  3rd - 2:09Oct 11 9:44 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Rangers 4, Flyers 3  3rd - 13:06Oct 11 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    3RD PRD: PHI - MIKE RICHARDS 1 (DANIEL BRIERE) 5:38

    Rangers 4, Flyers 3  3rd - 14:22Oct 11 9:21 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 4 0 4
    PHILADELPHIA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 2 (AARON VOROS, DAN GIRARDI) 4:12
    NYR - BLAIR BETTS 1 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, DAN GIRARDI) 5:15
    NYR - FREDRIK SJOSTROM 1 (BLAIR BETTS, COLTON ORR) 8:30
    NYR - (PP) MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (SCOTT

    Oct 11 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - SIMON GAGNE 1 (DANIEL BRIERE) 16:09

    Rangers 4, Flyers 2  2nd - 3:51Oct 11 8:49 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    2ND PRD: PHI - (SH) SCOTT HARTNELL 1 (GLEN METROPOLIT) 3:13

    Rangers 4, Flyers 1  2nd - 16:47Oct 11 8:22 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 4 4
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 2 (AARON VOROS, DAN GIRARDI) 4:12
    NYR - BLAIR BETTS 1 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, DAN GIRARDI) 5:15
    NYR - FREDRIK SJOSTROM 1 (BLAIR BETTS, COLTON ORR) 8:30
    NYR - (PP) MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (SCOTT

    Oct 11 7:57 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, MARKUS NASLUND)
    16:13

    Rangers 4, Flyers 0  1st - 3:47Oct 11 7:53 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 3
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - FREDRIK SJOSTROM 1 (BLAIR BETTS, COLTON ORR) 8:30

    Rangers 3, Flyers 0  1st - 11:30Oct 11 7:35 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - BLAIR BETTS 1 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, DAN GIRARDI) 5:12

    Rangers 2, Flyers 0  1st - 14:48Oct 11 7:28 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 2 (AARON VOROS, DAN GIRARDI) 4:12

    Rangers 1, Flyers 0  1st - 15:48Oct 11 7:27 PM
  • 5
    roots
    SuketoKetchi Added 5 roots

    Rangers vs. FlyersOct 10 8:44 AM