PHILADELPHIA - Arron Asham scored two goals, Martin Biron made 39 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Saturday.
Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell also had goals for the Flyers, who improved their hold on the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with their third win in four games.
Nik Antropov and Sean Avery had goals for New York, which could have moved into a tie for fourth with Philadelphia by sweeping the home-and-home weekend series. The top four teams get home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Instead, the Rangers are in a fight a playoff spot. Five teams were separated by four points near the post-season cutoff going into Saturday's games.
Biron had another strong performance in his fourth straight start, strengthening his case to be the Flyers' No. 1 goalie down the stretch. Biron earned "Marty! Marty!" cheers with several stops during a Rangers power play in the second period. Antero Niittymaki is expected to start in goal for Philadelphia when the teams meet at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Richards put the Flyers ahead 2-1 when he scored his 27th goal of the season in the second off a 2-on-1 breakaway. Kimmo Timonen's pass to Simon Gagne started the odd-man rush. Henrik Lundqvist stopped Gagne's shot and the initial rebound attempt by Richards, who put it in on his second chance.
Heavyweights Riley Cote and Colton Orr dropped the gloves a few minutes later, inciting the sellout crowd. The Rangers' Orr landed a couple hard shots early before Cote got a few jabs in and drove his opponent to the ice.
The Rangers had the tying goal waved off in the second because the puck hit off Scott Gomez's glove and knee before going in.
Asham gave the Flyers a two-goal cushion early in the third, scoring off a perfect, behind-the-net centring pass from Claude Giroux. He fired a slap shot past Lundqvist to make it 4-1 later in the third. Avery's goal cut it to 4-2 with 3:41 remaining.
The Rangers went ahead 1-0 early in the first when Antropov capitalized on a turnover by Flyers defenceman Matt Carle.
Antropov blocked a shot by Carle at the Rangers blue line and went the other way, outracing Gagne on the breakaway. Antropov faked a backhander and beat Biron with a forehanded shot for his second goal since joining the Rangers before the trade deadline.
Hartnell scored his third goal in three games to tie it at 1 in the first. Joffrey Lupul started a two-on-one breakaway by flicking a backhanded pass to Jeff Carter, who streaked down the right side with Hartnell opposite. Lundqvist stopped Carter's shot, but the rebound kicked out to Hartnell. He fired it in for his 25th goal, tying a career-best.
Notes: The Rangers are 4-3-1 since John Tortorella replaced fired coach Tom Renney. ... Flyers coach John Stevens earned his 100th NHL victory. ... The Flyers have allowed the first goal in six of seven games. ... Hartnell previously scored 25 goals with Nashville in the 2005-06 season. ... Lundqvist is 8-5-2 against Philadelphia. ... The teams play three more times this season.