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Flyers' struggles at MSG continue

by Emily Kaplan
NEW YORK -- For a while, it looked like the Flyers would extend an unsettling, if not surprising streak.

Through two periods on Friday night, Philadelphia was on pace to get shut out by the Rangers for the third straight time to Madison Square Garden. Andrej Meszaros' power-play goal with 9:39 remaining in the third averted a shutout, and James van Riemsdyk added a second goal about seven minutes later.

But the result was still a 4-2 loss to the New York Ranges that dropped the Flyers out of first place in the Atlantic Division heading into the Christmas break. The teams will meet again on Jan. 2 -- but this time, happily for the Flyers, they'll be at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, rather than in New York.


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There's something about MSG -- or maybe something about Henrik Lundqvist playing in front of his home crowd -- that the Flyers just can’t solve lately.

"[Lundqvist is] a good goalie, first of all," said Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr, who played with Lundqvist for three seasons in New York. "He makes saves and the fans like him, of course. They’re going to support him and give him more confidence."

That confidence -- stemming from a rowdy crowd that broke out into several chants of "Hen-rik" and "First place" throughout the game -- was well-placed as Lundqvist was sharp in a 28-save performance.

Philadelphia had ample chances. The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-24, including a 6-0 edge in the first 14:25. But Lundqvist made the saves he needed to make -- and the Flyers weren’t getting the bounces they needed.

"We made his life difficult tonight," Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov said. "But we do need to do a better job in front of him."

In their three-game losing streak at MSG -- which began last March and includes a 2-0 loss on Nov. 26 -- the Flyers have been outscored 13-2.

That's especially surprising for Philadelphia, which entered Friday leading the NHL with 116 goals -- 25 more than the League average.

But Flyers coach Peter Laviolette isn't too concerned. He thought his team played hard Friday, even if the final score didn't reflect that.

"I don't think it was a lack of effort," Laviolette said. "There were a couple of tough breaks. We had a tough time getting it past them with some good opportunities. Eventually we got two of them, but it was too late."
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