Rangers lose Callahan, but hang on to beat Flyers

Dave Buscema, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeJanuary 30, 2013


NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers feel like they're starting to find their identity, but they lost a key player Tuesday night.
The Philadelphia Flyers have dealt with losing some players already this young season and can't exactly like who they are at the moment.
The Rangers took a two-goal lead into the third period, then hung on to pay back the rival Flyers with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan scored a power-play goal in the second period, giving him 200 career points, but left early in the third period with an apparent left arm injury after a scrape with Flyers forward Maxime Talbot. Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the game he didn't yet know Callahan's status.
Michael Del Zotto also scored for New York, which had lost to the Flyers by the same score in Philadelphia last week. Benn Ferriero and Rick Nash recorded assists for the Rangers (3-3-0), who won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"I think, as a team, we're starting to get our identity back, and incorporate the new people," Del Zotto said of the Rangers, who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last year, but made several moves in the offseason.
Kimmo Timonen scored his first goal of the year for Philadelphia, with assists to Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for the Rangers, including several stops in the final minute. Ilya Bryzgalov had 26 for Philadelphia, which fell to 2-5-0.
Even without noted penalty-killer Callahan, the Rangers thwarted two Flyers' power play opportunities in the final nine minutes of the game, to hold on for the win. They also stopped the Flyers from scoring during their 5-on-3 advantage in the second period.
"We had zone time, but we've got to do a better job of finding opportunities once we're in the zone," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "They are a difficult team to generate against. They were all last year and they remain that way. Somehow we have to find the cracks in the offense. There were some opportunities, but we didn't cash in."
About five minutes into the final period, Callahan headed to the locker room holding his left arm after his tussle with Talbot. The players did some pushing and shoving and exchanged a couple of blows before tumbling to the ice behind the Rangers' net and were called for two-minute roughing penalties, but Callahan went straight to the locker room and did not return.
"You get worried," Lundqvist said of the injury to Callahan, who scored 29 goals and had 54 points last season. "He's an important player for this team. Hopefully, it's not too bad."
A few moments later, Philadelphia, trailing 2-0, went on a power play when the Rangers were called for too many men on the ice, sending Marian Gaborik to the box. Tortorella appeared to put the blame on forward Carl Hagelin, though, saying he focused on "the dumbness of Hagelin" after complaining about the Rangers having too many penalties.
"He played a helluva game, but that's all washed off by dumbness," Tortorella said of Hagelin.
After five players battled for the puck in an extended scrum in the corner to Lundqvist's left, the puck was finally sent free to Timonen in front of the net. He ripped a wrist shot past Lundqvist's left shoulder to make it 2-1 at the 7:09 mark of the third.
But New York, which had wasted a 5-on-3 advantage in its loss to the Flyers last Thursday, frustrated its rivals this time. The Rangers had the two penalty kills in the final half of the third period and also kept the Flyers from scoring on their 5-on-3 chance.
Philadelphia had the two-man advantage about midway through the second period, when Rangers center Derek Stepan was called for a delay of game penalty 43 seconds after Brad Richards was called for holding.
But the Rangers effectively killed both penalties, with limited stress on Lundqvist. Philadelphia got a couple of shots on goal, but neither appeared particularly threatening. In the final moments of the power play, in which Rangers center Jeff Halpern played without his stick for a bit, Richards made a diving play to knock the puck away and finish the penalty kill.
"It was really big," Tortorella said. "We've been on the other end of it, not scoring. I feel like they were caught out there and I thought the guys did a really good job. Obviously, it's an important part of the game."
A moment later, the Rangers were on the power play, when Talbot was called for tripping. The Rangers converted about a minute-and-a-half later, when Callahan poked in a rebound on the right side of the net, giving New York a 2-0 lead at the 11:31 mark of the second.
Before the game, Tortorella said he wanted Del Zotto to get more involved offensively and defensively. Less than two minutes into the game, the defenseman did just that, taking a pass from Ferriero and blasting in a shot from the left point past Bryzgalov's right side for a 1-0 lead at the 1:57 mark of the first period.
NOTES: Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, a healthy scratch Saturday, was in the lineup in place of Steve Eminger on Tuesday night. Bickel, who engaged Flyers forward Tom Sestito in an extended bout in Philadelphia last week, was in the lineup for "both" his toughness and the desire to get him on track, Tortorella said before the game. ... Lundqvist has started all six games for the Rangers. ... Briere tied a career high with 10 shots on goal. ... Flyers left wing Zac Rinaldo, who missed the last four games with a laceration on his leg, returned to action for Philadelphia. ... Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja, called up from AHL affiliate Adirondack on Friday, made his season debut.

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