The key play was Hollweg’s check-from-behind on Umberger with 3:17 left in the opening period that gave the Flyers a 5-minute advantage and caused Hollweg’s ejection. Knuble and Michal Handzus scored 2:29 apart to turn a deficit into a lead before the frame was done.
“That’s one of the worst hits to the head,” said Umberger, who took several stitches above the eye before returning to the game. “Anytime you go into the boards like that … it was a heavy impact.”
And so was the damage Philadelphia inflicted on the long power play.
“You really have to cash in,” forward Peter Forsberg said. If they kill that five minutes off, then all the advantage is on their side.
“It was definitely a big momentum changer.”
The Flyers won for the second straight night, ending New York’s three-game victory streak and catching the Rangers atop the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 39 wins and 88 points.
Philadelphia, which earned its third consecutive road win over the Rangers this season has 12 games remaining. New York will play 13 more.
“We have to make sure we’re playing our best hockey,” Forsberg said. “Every game is big now. We’ve just got to make sure we get better and better.”
Jagr, the NHL leader with 49 goals and 104 points, scored twice in the first period to give the Rangers two leads. His second-period goal cut the deficit to 4-3 and gave him 15 career hat tricks, three this season.
Philadelphia was trailing 2-1, but took the lead into the second period.
Umberger said the NHL should look at the hit that Hollweg conceded was over the line.
“It’s the right call,” the center said. “If I waited a half-more second, maybe I catch him when he is turning fully up ice, and it’s a clean hit. It’s a game of reaction. Mine was too quick.”
Simon Gagne turned a Rangers turnover into a goal that made it 4-2. After Jagr made it 4-3, Jeff Carter scored his 18th with 7:10 left to restore Philadelphia’s two-goal lead. Sami Kapanen closed the scoring with an empty-netter for the Flyers.
Robert Esche made 20 saves for the Flyers, who beat New Jersey on Tuesday and are 4-3 in their last seven games.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 17 shots and failed in his bid to win each game on the Rangers’ four-game homestand.
The teams will play twice more—once on each club’s home ice—as they fight for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Just 39 seconds after the Flyers got even at 1 on Knuble’s 29th, the Rangers grabbed the lead back on Jagr’s second of the game.
“I felt confident and lucky,” Jagr said.
But any momentum New York stole was lost 34 seconds later when Hollweg slammed Umberger in the back and drove him into the right-wing boards in the New York zone.
The Flyers made New York pay 1:07 into the penalty when Knuble again got his stick on a shot—this time from Gagne—for his 30th of the season that tied a career best. He earlier tipped in Joni Pitkanen’s drive.
Knuble, formerly of the Rangers, has five two-goal games this season—his first with Philadelphia.
“Jagr has been vintage Jagr. They’re not an easy team to play against,” Knuble said of the Rangers. “We just kind of held off the storm here and the power play was huge.”
Handzus stung New York when he deflected a drive from Brian Savage while standing at the right post, landed the rebound on his stick and shoved it past Lundqvist with only 0.8 seconds left.
Gagne made it 4-2 at 5:48 of the second period, 51 seconds after Philadelphia killed off its first penalty. Rangers defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh had a clear path to get the puck out of his zone but instead swept it right onto the stick of the oncharging Gagne, who scored his team-leading 41st goal.
Jagr brought more “M-V-P” chants and a cascade of hats from the stands when he snapped off a shot from the top edge of the left circle that struck the post on its way past Esche with 3:15 remaining in the middle period.
New York holds a 3-1-2 edge in the season series. … Knuble scored 30 with Boston during 2002-03 season. … Rangers D Darius Kasparaitis sat out with a groin injury. … Jagr has nine goals and five assists against the Flyers this season. … Rangers LW Martin Rucinsky had three assists after missing three games with a knee injury.