PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Stephen Valiquette's first NHL start in almost four
years seemed as though he was playing in a computer game.
Valiquette made 38 saves, and Jaromir Jagr had a goal and an assist as the
New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 to snap a season-high eight
game losing streak on Saturday.
``When we came in here and looked at Philadelphia's lineup, I felt like I
was looking at `NHL '92,''' Valiquette said. ``I used to play video games as a
kid. It seems like they have an All-Star team over here. I was really excited
to play against this team and see what kind of a game I had.''
Valiquette was recalled from Hartford of the AHL after Mike Dunham bruised
his shoulder during the first period of a 4-2 loss to Nashville on Thursday. He
was obtained from the Edmonton Oilers on March 3 as part of the trade for Petr
He went 2-0 for the New York Islanders in 1999-2000, recording a 2-1 win at
Ottawa in his last start on April 6, 2000.
``This was really a big thrill for me,'' said Valiquette, whose only other
NHL action this season was 14 minutes of relief work with the Oilers. ``Coming
into Philly was obviously a momentous challenge. I was ready for it. I felt
like I was a kid who studied well for a math exam. I felt like I put my work in
and I was ready to play.''
The Flyers missed a chance to increase their four-point Atlantic Division
lead over idle New Jersey. The Devils have four games left, one more than
New York coach Tom Renney was impressed with the performance of his 6-foot-5
``I thought he played really well,'' Renney said. ``He just seemed to have a
good focus on the puck and was able to see it coming to him for the most part.
He's a big guy. His style is conducive to what we think are the needs of a
National Hockey League goaltender.''
The Rangers also got goals from Josh Green and Bobby Holik as they built a
3-0 lead. New York captain Mark Messier was eligible to come back following a
two-game suspension for spearing, but he didn't make the trip because of an
Tony Amonte scored the only goal for Philadelphia.
``I thought our last 30 minutes were extremely strong,'' Flyers forward
Jeremy Roenick said. ``We can't put ourselves in this situation of being down
early in the game.''
Jagr scored his 31st goal to put the Rangers ahead in the first period. He
shook off Philadelphia's Patrick Sharp in the right circle and ripped a shot
high over goaltender Robert Esche.
The Rangers then scored twice within a span of 2:08 early in the second to
chase Esche, who had his second straight poor outing.
Green made it 2-0 at 1:05 of the period. Left alone to the right of the net,
he hammered in a rebound after Esche made the initial save on a shot by Jamie
Sean Burke replaced Esche after Holik scored on a slap shot from just inside
the blue line on a power play.
Esche, who allowed three goals on 11 shots, was also shaky in a 4-2 loss to
the New York Islanders on Thursday.
``I am not happy with any goal I give up,'' Esche said. ``I know the type of
goalie I am capable of being. I have to get back to that.''
Amonte got the Flyers to 3-1 with his 20th goal at 13:24 of the second,
scoring from the left of the crease after taking a pass from behind the net
from Simon Gagne.