NEW YORK (AP) -Philadelphia Flyers forward Todd Fedoruk was removed from the ice on a stretcher Wednesday night after taking a knockout punch to the face from New York's Colton Orr just 21 seconds into the game.
Fedoruk took on Orr inside the circle to the left of Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki and exchanged blows with New York's leading fighter. Orr landed a hard, overhand right to Fedoruk's left cheek that sent the Philadelphia player down and out on his back.
Officials immediately summoned the Flyers' medical personnel to the ice, and a stretcher was brought out moments later. Fedoruk appeared to blink and talk, and he made an OK gesture with his fingers as he was strapped to a backboard, and a brace was affixed to immobilize his head.
"I'm a little sore but I'm fine right now," Fedoruk said in a statement. "I remember everything. I looked at him and he said, 'Let's go.' He knocked me out on the way down. When I got off the ice, I woke up. I guess I got my bell rung."
Fedoruk was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital for observation and kept overnight.
"Todd is doing fine," Rangers neurologist Claude Macaluso said in a statement. "He is awake. He is having some problems with short-term memory, but other than that he is great. There are no neurological problems at all.
"We scanned him basically from the top of his head right down to the bottom of his neck. There are no fractures, (his) brain looks fine. He is going to be fine."
The game, won by the Rangers 5-0, was delayed about 10 minutes.
Fedoruk missed 18 games earlier this season after he underwent major facial surgery following an Oct. 27 fight with Minnesota's Derek Boogaard. Fedoruk, who was with Anaheim at the time, was traded to Philadelphia on Nov. 13. He had been wearing a face shield until February.
"You never want to see a guy get hurt," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "Obviously he got hit hard and he was injured. Immediately you're thinking for his safety."
It was Fedoruk's fifth fight since returning to the lineup Dec. 2.
"It was definitely tough to see," Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher said. "I definitely feel we were probably thinking about it for a few minutes. We're good friends. You want to know if he's all right."
Fedoruk got into a dustup Tuesday when he collided with Florida goalie Ed Belfour. When Belfour fell backward, he struck Fedoruk in the head with his stick.
Moments after Orr left the penalty box, he took on Philadelphia's Ben Eager, who knocked Orr to his knees with a punch in the short fight.
New York coach Tom Renney left Orr out of the lineup when the teams last met on Feb. 17 and said he regretted it after Fedoruk and Eager combined for four roughing penalties and a misconduct in the first period. Sean Avery fought Philadelphia's Mike Richards midway through the period of that game.
That contest is best remembered for the violent accidental collision between Flyers forward Mike Knuble and New York's Brendan Shanahan that left Shanahan unconscious on the ice. He was also removed on a stretcher and missed 15 games before returning for Wednesday's rematch with Philadelphia.
"We admitted it was a mistake the last time we played them that Colton wasn't in the lineup," Shanahan said. "For a guy that is known as a fighter, he plays a very intelligent and sound defensive game."
Knuble, who had surgery to repair a broken cheekbone and orbital bone following the collision, played in his fourth game since recovering from the injury.
Orr, along with his checking linemates Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg, got the start against the Flyers. Philadelphia countered a few seconds into the game by sending out Fedoruk.
"I wanted to get a good start, I wanted to get a forecheck, I wanted to make sure that we gave them nothing," Renney said. "If you look back on what they did against our last opponent, Sidney Crosby, you can sort of understand why I start that line.
"I'm not sure why they made the change to put Fedoruk out there. There's 60 minutes to do that if that's what you're after."