PHILADELPHIA – Henrik Lundqvist faced a flurry of shots in the third period, and stopped each and every one.
When it was over, he’d made 16 of his 36 saves in the final frame and helped the New York Rangers hang on for a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers that spoiled the return of Simon Gagne.
“We played really good tonight,” Lundqvist said. “We had a lot of speed, energy. We took a couple of early penalties and that made it a little tougher for us, but we responded well, especially in the second period. They where all over the place, but we kept our cool and we managed to get a win.”
Artem Anisimov scored the go-ahead goal at 4:46 of the second period when his backhand shot bounced off of Ryan Parent’s shin and skipped past Brian Boucher.
He threw it to the net to the top of the crease, and it went off our guy into the net,” Boucher said. “A lot of goals in this league aren’t pretty and that was one of them.”
In front of what few fans braved a massive winter storm, the Flyers lost for the 13th time in 16 games, despite outshooting New York 37-24.
“We found a way to win,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. “I thought Henrik was outstanding, especially in that third period. He played really well when he had to.”
Chris Drury gave the Rangers a lead at 5:16 in the first period. He intercepted Claude Giroux’s clearing attempt in the slot and blasted a slap shop past Boucher.
Chris Pronger’s power-play goal tied it at one with 12:44 left in the first. Gagne, playing in his first game since Oct. 25 after hernia and abdominal surgery, fed Pronger, who fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line past Lundqvist.
Pronger, the Flyers’ biggest off-season acquisition, scored for the first time since Nov. 14 against Buffalo.
The Flyers have eight goals in their last nine losses, and have already replaced coach John Stevens with Peter Laviolette.
Captain Mike Richards questioned the team’s effort after a loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Laviolette called a time out shortly after Drury’s goal.
“I would’ve thought we would’ve ripped the hinges off the gate tonight to get out on the ice,” Laviolette said. “We were so far from that, in my opinion, to start the game. We got what we deserved.”
The Flyers’ work rate picked up noticeably in the third, but by then it was too late.
“The way we played in the third, with the desperation, the tenacity on the puck, the grit, working the boards, moving our feet – that has to be 60 minutes,” Pronger said. “When we don’t, (a loss) is going to be the result whether Lundqvist is in the net or not. We have to be desperate each and every shift, whether it’s the first or the third period. We can’t wait until we get down and all of a sudden flip a switch and try, we’ve got to do it for 60 minutes.”