Philadelphia, PA – The New York Rangers scored three times in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit, spoiling the Flyers' home opener with a 5-3 victory at the Wachovia Center.Jaromir Jagr
tallied twice on the power play in the final frame to give New York a 4-3 lead. First, his wrist shot from the faceoff circle snuck underneath Robert Esche's left arm at 6:28. Later, from virtually the same spot on the ice, he found the back of the net again at 11:26 to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish.
Marcel Hossa's rebound goal just 33 seconds after Jagr's second tally capped the scoring.
"Quite frankly, in the third period after they tied it up, we got outworked five-on-five," said Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. "We got beat to pucks that we usually don't get beat to. They stayed with it."
Peter Forsberg made his presence felt quickly in his Flyers debut, setting up both first period Flyers goals.
After the Rangers took the lead on a slap shot by Jason Strudwick at 9:31, Philadelphia responded with a couple of scores before the intermission.
Simon Gagne tallied the first goal of the season for Philadelphia at 11:31. On the play, Forsberg picked up a loose puck and went in on a two-on-one rush with Gagne. Forsberg fed Gagne with a cross-ice pass, and Gagne's redirection beat goaltender Kevin Weekes.
The Flyers went to work on a two-man advantage shortly after that goal. This time it was Mike Knuble who was the beneficiary of a pass from Forsberg, as he one-timed a feed from the slot at 13:54.
Still, Forsberg is still getting his legs underneath him, as he was only healthy enough to skate in one preseason game.
"Hopefully it will get better. I need a couple more games to get back into it," he said.
Rookie Mike Richards gave the Flyers a two-goal advantage with his first goal in the NHL when he brought the puck into the zone with Rangers defenseman Fedor Tyutin draped on his back. Richards drove hard to the net, and managed to get off a slap shot at 7:23 past Weekes.
"I just came off the bench and [Eric] Desjardins threw it out there," said Richards. "It's nice to get the first one behind me."
The Flyers failed to capitalize on a multitude of penalties to the Rangers later in the period, and New York made it a one-goal game at the intermission. Jeff Carter misplayed a puck in the Flyers' zone while the team was shorthanded, and Jamie Lundmark was there to slap the puck past Esche at 16:56.
"The chances that we missed in the second period, where we could have put the game out of reach, really came back to haunt us," said Hitchcock.
The Flyers remain home on Friday, October 7, when they host the New Jersey Devils at the Wachovia Center at 7:00 p.m.FLYERS NOTES
New York's Michael Nylander hit the post on a penalty shot at 13:27 of the second period, after Forsberg held him. … Derian Hatcher served the first of a three-game suspension, dating back to the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs. … Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch.