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Lundqvist Shines in Win Over Philadelphia

Puempel Scores in Rangers Debut

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

After being pulled Wednesday night against the Penguins, Henrik Lundqvist was the difference for the Rangers in a 3-2 win Friday afternoon against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Lundqvist turned aside a season-high 40 shots to improve to 10-6-1 on the year. 

Derek Stepan, Matt Puempel and Kevin Hayes each scored for the Blueshirts, who have now won four in a row against the Flyers.

"I didn't expect anything less from this group," Vigneault said. "This is a very proud group that in my mind is very accountable. We knew that we needed to come up with a better effort. I thought we were real good in the first two periods, I thought we were able to get some Grade-A chances and capitalize. In the third, Hank did what Hank's supposed to do. He made some big saves and that's why we've got him here."

While he didn't pick up an assist on the goal, Lundqvist's strong play in the first period immediately led to offense for the Rangers. After No. 30 denied Matt Read point blank in front of the net, New York went the other way and opened the scoring when J.T. Miller fed a pass from behind the net to Stepan in the slot, who fired a shot past Steve Mason to make it 1-0.

Video: NYR@PHI: Puempel puts home saucer from Vesey

Just 1:34 later, Jimmy Vesey sent a backhand saucer pass the streaking Puempel who went stick side to put the New York ahead 2-0 in his Rangers debut.

"It's just a really nice play," said Marc Staal of Puempel's goal. "Confident kid. He picked his spot and got it. It's huge when you have injuries, to have guys come in and contribute. That was big for us today."

Hayes would cap off the scoring midway through the second period when Nick Holden scooped up a Flyers turnover and fired a wrist shot on net that Hayes redirected for his 10th goal of the season at 12:33.

The story though was Lundqvist, who turned in one of the better performances of the season. Lundqvist's toughest save of the afternoon came midway through the second period when he stopped Claude Giroux in tight with his helmet with the Rangers up by two. 

Video: NYR@PHI: Ludqvist stretches to rob Giroux

Lundqvist stood tall after Chris VandeVelde and Shayne Gostisbehere scored in the third period to get the Flyers back to within one goal. He stopped Mark Streit and Brayden Schenn in the dying seconds to preserve the win. He made 19 saves in the third period.

"He played great," Staal said of Lundqvist. "I thought he looked like his confident self in net. Those saves in tight. He stood tall and kept us in there for sure. It was a great performance by him. It was nice to see."

In a throwback to decades past, the Rangers picked up their first two fighting majors of the season Friday. First Brandon Pirri traded punches with Travis Konecny after Pirri was called for boarding Brandon Manning in the first period.

That scuffle was followed by Chris Kreider and Manning dropping the gloves with less than 2 seconds remaining in the first period.

The Blueshirts return home Sunday night against the Ottawa Senators

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