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Upshall Scores in Debut as Flyers Beat Rangers, 5-3

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(New York, NY, February 17) - Scottie Upshall scored a key goal in his Philadelphia debut and the physical Flyers beat the Rangers 5-3 on Saturday in a game that saw New York's Brendan Shanahan taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision with Mike Knuble.

The win came in the Flyers' first game following the trade of captain Peter Forsberg, who was making his debut with the Nashville Predators later Saturday.

The loss could be costly for the Rangers. Shanahan was knocked unconscious in the third period following a hard collision with Knuble. The veteran forward was taken to a hospital, and early reports from the team said he was "alert, awake and moving his extremities."

New York also played the final period without goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who injured his left shoulder making a save, and defenseman Marek Malik.

Upshall, part of the deal that sent Forsberg to the Predators during Thursday's home loss to Toronto, scored on the Flyers' first shot against backup Stephen Valiquette to give Philadelphia a 4-2 lead 2:33 into the third period.

Dmitry Afanasenkov, stopped by Valiquette on a penalty shot, later scored to make it 5-2. Geoff Sanderson, whose shot hurt Lundqvist, R.J. Umberger and Simon Gagne also had goals. Antero Niittymaki made 40 saves.

Philadelphia is 3-1-1 in its last five and won for the first time this season with Forsberg out of the lineup (1-14-3).

The Rangers missed a chance to move up in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Marian Hossa, Petr Prucha, and Matt Cullen scored but New York's three-game winning streak was snapped.

Gagne made it 3-1 with his 31st goal of the season with 30.8 seconds left in the middle period.

Lundqvist, still smarting from Sanderson's hard shot off his left shoulder that hurt him 1:25 into the period, banged his stick in frustration. It marked just the third time in 14 games that Lundqvist allowed more than two goals.

Sanderson was the first Flyers player to get to Lundqvist. Despite a first period in which New York held a huge shots advantage and a 6-0 power-play edge, Sanderson gave the Flyers a 1-0 with 6:31 left in the first period.

Philadelphia led even though it was outshot 13-2.

Hossa tied it for New York 2:26 later by tipping rookie defenseman Daniel Girardi's shot between Niittymaki's pads. It was Girardi's first NHL point in 10 career games.

But another late-period goal restored Philadelphia's lead. Umberger got to a turnover in the neutral zone and went in alone on Lundqvist. His shot between the pads with 1:09 left in the frame was the Flyers' 12th short-handed goal of the season - second-best in the NHL - and the league-low second allowed by the Rangers.

Philadelphia started strong against the Rangers. Hard-hitting forwards Ben Eager and Todd Fedoruk took three roughing penalties in the first 6:20, and Mike Richards fought New York's Sean Avery midway through the period.

Notes: Flyers C Mike York, one game away from 500 played in the NHL, was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in five contests. ... New York's power play that clicked six times in nine chances the previous two games was 1-for-9. ... Philadelphia, 2-3-1 against New York, has killed 36 of 38 short-handed situations against the Rangers.
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