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Rangers fall to Flyers in shootout, 3-2

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PHILADELPHIA – If Saturday night’s game was a blueprint for this season’s Rangers-Flyers series, sign up every fan along I-95 for the wild ride.

The Blueshirts fell, 3-2, in a shootout to their hosts from the City of Brotherly Love, but not before two comebacks, a disallowed goal that should have won it, a whirlwind overtime, an unsuccessful shootout and – unfortunately – two scary injuries.

“It was two good teams, and it was definitely challenging, but it was fun,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 46 exhilarating saves to Steve Mason’s 37 impressive stops for Philly.

Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux won it for the Flyers (4-2-1) in the Rangers’ first shootout of the season, when only Derek Stepan scored for the visitors and Lundqvist admitted his “timing was off.”

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But Rangers forward Jarret Stoll seemingly had snapped the 2-2 tie 11:44 into the second period, driving the crease and batting home a set-up from Dominic Moore and Viktor Stalberg with Flyers forward Jake Voracek draped on him.

Officials, however, called no goal on ice for goalie interference and upheld it after Alain Vigneault used his coach’s challenge for the first time this season. After a five-minute delay, the league said that “incidental contact” with Mason had “prevent(ed) Mason from doing his job in the crease.”

“I didn’t feel like I touched him much at all really,” said Stoll, who won 10 of 13 faceoffs and had four shots on goal. “They said something about where my stick was, but I don’t know. That’s a tough call. You could see that going either way, but I think it should have counted. I’m not being biased. After seeing the replay, I thought it should have counted.”

Henrik Lundqvist stops 46 shots on goal but lets two by him in a shootout as the Rangers fall, 3-2.Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

Henrik Lundqvist stops 46 shots on goal but lets two by him in a shootout as the Rangers fall, 3-2.

Forwards J.T. Miller and Derick Brassard scored for the Rangers (5-2-2) to overcome 1-0 and 2-1 deficits on goals from Flyers defenseman Mark Streit and forward Scott Laughton. Rangers center Kevin Hayes, whose defensive-zone lapse led to Laughton’s goal 2:07 into the second period, set up Brassard’s goal at 4:48, marking the third straight game the Blueshirt’s power play has cashed in.

Dan Girardi blocked two shots on a penalty kill to close regulation and bail out Lundqvist for a bad turnover and Miller for a delay of game penalty. Mats Zuccarello saved two would-be Flyers goals, blocking Streit’s first-period chance at an open net with his stick and sliding in front of Wayne Simmonds’ overtime chance.

The furious pace created what even losing coach Vigneault admitted was an “entertaining” game.

“I thought our first two periods were really strong,” Miller said. “We really pushed the pace. It was kind of chance-for-chance a little bit in the game, which is not ideal but we were coming back hard, creating turnovers.”

Scott Laughton (r.) celebrates a go-ahead goal in the second period against the Rangers.Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

Scott Laughton (r.) celebrates a go-ahead goal in the second period against the Rangers.

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Vigneault, though, was furious at the end of the second period, screaming at the referees for not penalizing Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for head-hunting the Rangers’ Stalberg at 18:54 and knocking him out of the match with a head injury. Stalberg will miss at least Sunday night’s home game against the Calgary Flames, if not more, which means Emerson Etem will make his second appearance of the season.

“For me, principal point of attack was the head,” Vigneault said of the hit. “Hopefully Viktor will be fine soon. Obviously he’s gonna be out for (Sunday) and we’ll see what the league does.”

J.T. Miller ties the game up for the Rangers in the first period.Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

J.T. Miller ties the game up for the Rangers in the first period.

Flyers forward Michael Raffl also sustained a frightening injury, though the team said he was OK after the game. At 2:58 of the second period, Raffl collapsed on the bench and the Flyers stopped play by screaming and frantically banging the boards to get officials’ attention.

Replays showed Raffl was hit in the face with Stoll’s left elbow, but Stoll wasn’t even aware of the play and said he’d heard a puck had struck Raffl while he was off ice.

The bright side of Saturday’s game was how prickly and competitive the Flyers were. The Rangers have owned this series, winning five of their previous seven games coming in and 16 of their previous 21 head-to-head.

The rivalry could use some juice.

Tags:
henrik lundqvist ,
sam gagner ,
claude giroux ,
derek stepan ,
radko gudas ,
jarret stoll ,
viktor stalberg ,
michael raffl ,
philadelphia flyers

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