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Flyers Drop 3-1 Decision to New York

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, December 12) – The New York Rangers scored one goal in each of the three periods to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday night, 3-1.

The Rangers broke a 1-1 tie in the second period when Jarkko Immonen got his first goal of the season on a backhander that found space between the pads of Antero Niittymaki with 4:05 left.

In the third, Michael Nylander converted on a two-on-one rush with Martin Straka as the Rangers gave Philadelphia its fourth straight loss after the team had won three of four to end the month of November.

The third Rangers goal came after a couple of good scoring chances by Mike Knuble and Simon Gagne at the other end of the ice.

"I thought the team competed hard tonight," said John Stevens. "I thought we hung in there until the end. I thought we had a chance to win it. Had we folded up and packed it in I would have been a lot more concerned, but the fact that we are showing ability to compete for the length of the hockey game, I think, is what we are looking for."

The Flyers were forced to play the game with six rookies, as they are decimated by injuries at the moment.

"Everyone played hard, and you have a lot of guys who have not played a lot of minutes this year," said R.J. Umberger. "At some point, it kind of wears on you, but the team is fighting."

The first period was an entertaining one, with some wide open action as the teams traded goals.

New York took the lead when Mark Cullen whacked at a loose puck at the side of the net, squeezing it through the left pad of Niittymaki and the near post at 6:56.

It didn't take long for Philadelphia to tie it up, when Todd Fedoruk found Umberger in the high slot and Umberger's wrist shot sailed high into the net over the glove hand of goaltender Kevin Weekes just 25 seconds later.

Both teams had other chances as well in the opening frame. Randy Robitaille hit the post on a Flyers power play early in the game, and Niittymaki made some key saves on Straka and Jaromir Jagr in stopping 15 Rangers shots overall in the first 20 minutes.

Straka later hit the post on a New York power play, while Knuble missed an open net from the faceoff circle with Weekes out of position.

Niittymaki finished with 31 saves while Weekes stopped 15 of 16 Flyers shots.

"We were in it all game, we just had to find a way to generate more," said Derian Hatcher.

One highlight for the home crowd came in the second period when the game was still 1-1, and Hatcher drilled Jagr with a hard, clean shoulder and the Rangers' captain struggled to get on his skates.

Philadelphia makes its third appearance of the season in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., CW-57, 610 WIP).

Sami Kapanen returned to the lineup after missing the last game with back spasms, while Joni Pitkanen returned from a one-game absence as well due to soreness in his abdominal area. … Freddy Meyer sat out with a sore back but is probable for Wednesday. … Niko Dimitrakos, recalled from the Phantoms earlier Tuesday, played in his first game with the Flyers since October 11.
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