Joe was supposed to have the recap today, but the big storm knocked his power out about halfway through the game, so here is the recap from NHL.com, and then final thoughts from me:
NEW YORK -- One game after he was a healthy scratch, Sean Avery delivered a performance that should ensure his place in the New York Rangers lineup for the rest of the season.
Avery scored a pair of goals and drew two penalties as the New York Rangers emerged with a 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon. The win was the Rangers' second straight and moved them within one point of the
Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Michal Rozsival's power-play goal in the second period put the Rangers ahead for good.
Henrik Lundqvist was good when he had to be, stopping 17 shots for his second win in a row after getting yanked against New Jersey on March 10 after allowing five goals on 17 shots.
The loss for the Flyers comes a little more than 24 hours after a come-from-behind victory against the
Chicago Blackhawks in which the Flyers scored twice in the final few minutes on home ice for a 3-2 victory. Facing a similar deficit Sunday against the Rangers, the Flyers were unable to find that magic again.
The Flyers are tied with the
Montreal Canadiens with 76 points, good for sixth place in the East. But Sunday's regulation loss trimmed their cushion on the ninth-place Rangers to just five points.
Avery had an inspired game after he was a healthy scratch against the
Atlanta Thrashers on Friday. Besides the goal, he delivered plenty of big hits and drew a roughing penalty on the Flyers' Scott Hartnell during the second period and an interference call on Braydon Coburn in the third.
The Flyers scored on their first shot of the game. With Olli Jokinen in the penalty box for slashing, Danny Briere skated off the half-wall and wristed a shot through heavy
trafficthat found its way past Lundqvist just 4:13 into the game to make it 1-0.
The Rangers got things even off a faceoff win by Erik Christensen, who pulled the puck back to Wade Redden. He ripped a shot that was stopped by Leighton, but Avery beat Flyers defenseman Matt Carle to the front of the net and backhanded the rebound home just 1:53 into the second period.
Rozsival put the Rangers up 2-1 with a power-play goal just 3:01 later. His blast from the point deflected off the post and past Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, who was helpless against a gorgeous screen directly in front by Chris Drury. Christensen was credited with his second assist of the game on the goal.
Avery salted the game away with his second of the game, a seemingly harmless wrist shot from the left-wing wall that went over the catching glove of Leighton.
Here is the video of Avery's second goal, and there is more after the jump...........
- I don't attribute the game Avery had to the benching as much as I do that he seems to be at his best against the Flyers. While he definitely gets under Jabba's folds when the Rangers play Jersey, Avery seems to be able to get under the collective skin of the Flyers.
- I know we have beat this horse beyond death, by why oh why does this
teamjust refuse to play sixty minutes of solid hockey?
- Jody Shelley had 2:37 of ice time. So much for the theory that the Rangers brought him in with this game in mind.
- Erik Christensen had two assists in the game, and I think he is making a good case to be a part of the Rangers future plans.
- I thought Scott Hartnell deserved four minutes when he got into that scrum with Avery near the end of the second. Avery never dropped his gloves, and Hartnell continued to throw punches while Avery was being held by the official.
- I have to admit, even the Ranger optimist in me had a hard time thinking they would get four point this weekend. Now the next "biggest game of the season" is Tuesday night at MSG against Les Habitants, who are currently holding the 7th spot in the East.