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Rangers Win Saturday Matinee, 2-1

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, January 27) – Jason Krog broke a 1-1 tie with the only goal of the third period to lead the New York Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon.

On the winning goal, Adam Hall attempted a wraparound that deflected to the other side of the net where Krog got just enough of the puck to put it over a sprawled out Robert Esche at 3:46 of the third period.

The teams traded goals in the second period after a scoreless first.

New York got on the board first, when Jaromir Jagr tipped in a nice pass from the point by defenseman Karel Rachunek just 56 seconds in.

Philadelphia responded on a delayed penalty call with Joni Pitkanen's second of the season. On the play, Peter Forsberg brought the puck into the zone and found Mike Knuble charging the net. Knuble alertly redirected the puck with a pass in front of the crease to Pitkanen who tapped it into the open net at 3:24.

Philadelphia's Ben Eager delivered the hit of the game midway through the second, when a hard shoulder by the 6-3, 225-pound left wing sent the Krog into and over the boards in front of the Flyers bench.

That hit was just one of many throughout the game, as it was a chippy one from the start. It began with a boarding call on Ryan Potulny, who drilled New York's Ryan Hollweg in the first period sending him headfirst into the boards. Potulny was called for boarding on the play – one of five power plays for the Rangers in the opening frame.

Late in the first, Mike Richards hit New York's Marcel Hossa up high, igniting a scrum in the Philadelphia zone with just one second left in the period.

"The thing that I liked the most is the amount of emotion we played with," said John Stevens. "We just seemed like we were connected in the hockey game. We seemed like we really fed off of the physical play."

Esche, making his first start in net since January 9, kept Philadelphia in game early as the Rangers outshot the Flyers 17-4 in the first 20 minutes. Esche gloved a quick wrist shot by Jagr and froze a shot by Brendan Shanahan with New York on a power play to keep it scoreless.

"He was terrific," said Stevens of Esche. "They had multiple power plays in the first period. I thought he stood tall and he made some key saves. I thought he played a heck of a hockey game."

"I have been working hard and I am just trying to give the team a chance to win," said Esche.

Esche finished with 33 saves, while Henrik Lundqvist picked up the win in net for the Rangers with 17 saves.

New York was 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Flyers were 0-for-2 on just 2:03 of power play time.

"I thought we did a great job killing them, battling to stay in the game, but we had a little too many penalties," said Forsberg.

This was the fifth of eight games between the two teams this season. New York has won four of the five.

Philadelphia lost its ninth straight game and 10th in a row at home.

The Flyers travel to Atlanta to face the Thrashers on Sunday afternoon (1:00 p.m., NBC, 610 WIP).

Defenseman Denis Gauthier returned to the lineup after missing the last 32 games following shoulder surgery. … Defenseman Randy Jones left the game with a separated right shoulder and did not return. He will be out for seven-to-10 days. Philadelphia recalled defenseman Nate Guenin following the game.
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