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Lundqvist grounds Flyers

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
A 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night capped a 5-1 homestand for the suddenly red-hot New York Rangers.
The Rangers probably wish that they could play every game at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts concluded their six-game homestand with a 5-1 record as they picked up a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night in a low-scoring battle that featured stellar goaltending from both Martin Biron and Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist, however, was just a tad better, stopping all 30 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season – second in the League to only Pascal Leclaire’s five in Columbus. The Rangers’ netminder was pleased with his team’s performance during the recent stretch at home.

“It’s fun for us to come back to New York,” said Lundqvist, who has started each of the Rangers’ first 14 games. “The home stretch came at a perfect time for us. Now, we have to get wins on the road.”
       
Biron stopped 43 of the Rangers’ 45 shots, but his offense couldn’t find a way to solve Lundqvist. The Flyers were held to just five shots in the third period. 

The Rangers are used to playing in games with soccer-like scores. New York has only scored 25 goals this season – the least in the NHL, but has been able to keep afloat in the Atlantic Division with their defensive play and Lundqvist’s goaltending. The Rangers are tied with the Blue Jackets for the least amount of goals allowed with 23.

"It's frustrating," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "We're trying to contain early in the game instead of being the team that should put the pressure. We wait until the second or third period to start doing that. It's cost us a few games. It puts a lot of pressure on Marty back there to hold the fort. It's definitely unacceptable."

Tuesday marks another intense divisional matchup for the Rangers, as they head east on the Long Island Expressway to visit the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. Lundqvist is hoping to get the starting nod again from coach Tom Renney.

“We played a very poised and confident game,” Lundqvist said. “We’ve been playing like a team that’s 10-0. Teams coming in here think it’s exciting, as well. I’ll talk with Tom Renney and (goaltending coach) Benoit Allaire about playing tomorrow night against the Islanders. Even though I’ve been playing a lot, I don’t feel tired.”
       
While the Flyers (8-5-0) still remain atop the Atlantic Division, they are likely eager to return home. Philadelphia is 2-4 thus far on its season-high eight-game road trip, with two games remaining. The Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at the Mellon Arena before visiting the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, marking their first trip to the Prudential Center.  
       
Jaromir Jagr broke a scoreless tie with 33 seconds to play in the opening period, when he roared down the left side and ripped a wrist shot past Biron’s glove hand to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Jagr’s goal was assisted by Daniel Girardi and Scott Gomez, as the latter picked up his second helper of the season.

Gomez has been playing on Jagr’s line for the bulk of the season, but has yet to develop the chemistry that Michael Nylander had last year with Jagr and Martin Straka. Gomez is coming to life lately after scoring the Rangers’ only goal in Saturday night’s 2-1 shootout victory over New Jersey.
       
Brendan Shanahan sealed the Rangers’ victory with a power play goal with 3:21 left in the third period on a one-timer from the top of the left wing circle. Jagr and defenseman Fedor Tyutin assisted on Shanahan’s fourth goal of the season.
   
"He played great right from his first shift," Shanahan said of Jagr. "The goal he scored is the kind of goal you get confidence from."

The Flyers appeared to be rejuvenated after finishing with the worst record in the NHL last season (22-48-12). General manager Paul Holmgren was one of the most active in the NHL, signing Briere to an eight-year contract and trading for Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and Scottie Upshall. But Lundqvist found a way to shut down Philadelphia’s potent offense on Monday, as the Flyers were blanked for the first time this season.

“They've really committed to defense," Briere said of the Rangers. "At the same time, we have a much better offensive team than we showed."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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