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Rangers End Streak at Home With Win Over Flyers

Stepan Line Combines for Six Points in Victory

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The questions about not winning at home can finally be put to rest.

The Rangers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, ending the team's eight-game winless streak on home ice.

After allowing the game's first goal, the Rangers scored four unanswered goals before the Flyers nearly spoiled the night with two goals 49 seconds apart, starting with Brayden Schenn's tally with 2:06 remaining that put a scare in The Garden crowd.

"For 58 minutes, we played a pretty good game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We got a little unfortunate there at the end. We had a couple of opportunities to make the right play with the puck. They are a real strong team 5-on-4 and 6-on-5. They have some weapons and they showed it at the end. At the end of the day, it's about winning games and that's what we did."

New York fired off four straight goals after the Flyers opened the scoring 33 seconds into the second period on a goal by Valtteri Filppula, starting with a power play goal by Mika Zibanejad 3:57 into the middle frame.

Video: PHI@NYR: Zuccarello, Smith combine for slick goal

Brendan Smith displayed a high level of skill in netting his first goal as a Ranger 7:10 into the middle frame. On a delayed penalty, Mats Zuccarello fed the blueliner streaking to the net and Smith went top-shelf on the backhand to put the Rangers ahead for good.

"Our forwards made some good plays at our own blue line and I was able to beat my man up the ice," Smith said. "Zuccy (Zuccarello) made a really nice pass to me and (jokingly) then I blacked out so I'm not really sure what happened after that."

Video: PHI@NYR: Lindberg slides home his own rebound in 3rd

Oscar Lindberg gave New York some insurance 7:01 into the third with his eighth goal of the year, and Kreider's 28th of the season 2:09 later came when he got a piece of a Stepan shot to put New York up three before Philadelphia's late rally.

The Stepan unit combined for a goal and five assists, including three from Zuccarello. 

"Building chemistry and understanding the work ethic that needs to go into an offensive shift and being creative," Stepan said. "I think you look at our line, we try to find ice that's available and try to get the puck into 36's hands." 

Vigneault was blunter in his assessment of his No. 1 line.

"That line tonight was dominating," Vigneault said. "For part of the night we also matched them up against their top line and they still had a tremendous amount of zone time and some great looks. All three of those guys played extremely well except for maybe that one play there at the end of the third period."

Video: PHI@NYR: Lundqvist flashes leather on Giroux in 3rd

The victory secured the Rangers could not fall below the top wild card in the Eastern Conference, and was also the third consecutive season New York registered at least 100 points in the regular season.

"It's definitely something we all should feel really good about," said Henrik Lundqvist, "It's a tough league, it's hard to win. It's hard to be in the playoff race, but guys are committed. Sometimes when you are right in it, it might now feel like you are - there are so many things you want to work on and do better - but when you take a step outside and kind of look at the big picture here and another 100-point season, it's a lot of good things for this group.  

"We look forward to this last week here," he added, "keep working on our game, and then get ready for the playoffs."

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