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St. Louis scores 1,000th point, Rangers blank Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- There must be something about playing the Philadelphia Flyers that New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot enjoys.

Talbot stopped all 26 shots he faced for his second shutout in as many starts against the Flyers as the Rangers won 3-0 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center.

The win extended Talbot's shutout streak against the Flyers to 156:27. He hasn't allowed a goal in his past three games against Philadelphia, including a relief stint in the third period of Game 6 of the teams' 2014 Eastern Conference First Round series.

"It was more of a big team effort," Talbot said. "I was back there but most of the shots were from the outside and the guys did a great job of boxing out and letting me see pretty much every puck."

Rangers forward Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist to become the 81st player in NHL history with 1,000 career points. Derek Stepan had three assists and Rick Nash and Dan Boyle scored special-teams goals.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault suggested Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal when the Flyers and Rangers play Saturday at Madison Square Garden, but knowing Talbot is a viable option makes the Rangers a pretty comfortable group no matter whom is in goal.

"So-called backup goalies are very important," Boyle said. "He can be a No. 1 guy on a lot of teams. We're lucky to have two strong goalies to get to where we want to be."

Philadelphia goaltender Steve Mason made 21 saves, but the Flyers dropped to 1-6-1 in their past eight games. It's the second time in three games the Flyers have been shut out; they lost 1-0 in a shootout to the New York Islanders on Nov. 24.

The Flyers went 0-for-6 on the power play and were outshot 7-5 by the Rangers' penalty-killing unit.

That includes Nash's shorthanded goal at 5:30 of the third period. The Flyers got a four-minute power play when forward Chris Kreider was called for a high-sticking double-minor on Sean Couturier. But Boyle broke up a Philadelphia cycle in the left corner and the only Flyer not caught deep was defenseman Mark Streit. Ryan McDonagh led a 3-on-1 rush that Nash finished with a shot from the right dot off a Stepan cross-ice pass.

The goal was Nash's 16th, his fourth in as many games. It took away any hope Philadelphia had of making a comeback.

"If they score it's a one-goal game," Vigneault said. "By us making it 3-0, it gives us a little bit of a cushion."

It added to an already frustrated Flyers team.

"We're definitely in a rut here," Mason said. "There is still a lot of time to make up room, but you can't let this keep sliding like this. It's unacceptable, it's embarrassing and we have to get going on a roll here."

The players weren't the only ones unhappy.

“This is a better team than we are playing right now and this is a better team than our record is showing," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "In saying that, our players have got to get going here. ... I'm not happy at this point. I'm not happy with our record. I'm not happy with our overall performance."

After questioning the compete level of a few players following the Flyers' 5-2 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, coach Craig Berube said the problem Friday was how the team dealt with frustration.

"Just composure and frustration for me was the biggest thing," he said. "I thought we started the game out fine. The first period I thought was fine. I didn't like the penalties. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball, taking both them penalties. They scored on one of them. We didn't recover from it. We have to get tougher mentally."

Boyle's first-period power-play goal, a long shot from the point that Mason never saw as Nash was screening him, put the Rangers ahead 6:10 into the game.

New York made it 2-0 on St. Louis' historic goal. Flyers rookie center Scott Laughton turned over the puck at the Philadelphia blue line, and St. Louis found a gap in front of the net to bang in the rebound of a Stepan shot.

"We know what it's like when the fans get on you," Boyle said. "Their fans were not happy in their play and it sucked the air out of them. In the third we didn't really give them much, just played strong defensive hockey and deserved the win."

Aiding in the Rangers' effort was the return of McDonagh. The defenseman played for the first time since sustaining a separated shoulder Nov. 1. Vigneault said he was going to monitor McDonagh's ice time, but he played 22:12, second on the Rangers, and had an assist, three hits and three blocked shots.

"I felt like I got stronger as I went on and was able to contribute and make an impact," McDonagh said. "Kept it pretty simple today. Just very glad I was able to come back and help these guys with a big win here."

The Rangers will try to win back-to-back games for the third time this season. New York had a three-game winning streak in October and won two consecutive games from Nov. 19-23.

"We talked about backing up our wins with more wins," Boyle said. "We've got to back this one up with another one to make it count."

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