PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers just rubbed this one in.
In the first meeting between the teams since a shootout on the last day of the season sent Philadelphia to the playoffs and New York golfing, former Rangers Blair Betts and Nikolay Zherdev scored in the Flyers’ 4-1 victory Thursday night.
Mike Richards and Chris Pronger added power-play goals for Philadelphia, which extended its season-best winning streak to five games.
The Rangers are 14-4-2 in their last 20 games in Philadelphia, though April’s loss certainly looms large.
“We knew it was going to be a physical, emotional battle,” Betts said. “We got a couple of big power play goals and that helped us out quite a bit.”
After winning that shootout 3-2, the Flyers went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
This game was decided earlier.
In the second period, Brandon Dubinsky fired a rebound from Michael Del Zotto’s shot past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Dubinsky leads the Rangers with eight goals in 12 games.
Philadelphia scored the next three goals against Henrik Lundqvist, who started Thursday despite being hit on the right side of his neck in practice Wednesday.
Richards tied the game at 5:12 with a one-timer from one knee.
Standing below the right face-off circle, the Flyers centre received a no-look, across-the-crease feed from Claude Giroux.
“We just tried to find a soft spot on the ice,” Richards said. “It seems like on their penalty-kill, they like to flood to one side. I knew that Giroux saw me and Ville, too. I was just hoping one of them would come up with the puck and they did and ‘G’ made a great pass.”
More than four minutes later, Betts gave the Flyers the lead when he fetched his own rebound and backhanded a shot past Lundqvist.
“We’re getting more traffic and moving the puck around quicker,” Pronger said. “We’ve been doing a good job of getting opportunities.”
Zherdev added the last goal when the pass he sent toward the net took a funny hop and bounced over Lundqvist’s shoulder.
Tempers flared early in the third when Flyers forward Dan Carcillo sent Ruslan Fedotenko to the ice, and appeared to have his elbow raised as he skated into him.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella was livid on the bench, though calmer afterward.
“Do I have a problem with (the hit)?” he said. “Sure I did. Why wouldn’t I? What do we talk about? All the tapes they send in the summer. They ask us to watch them. Why send them? It’s a waste.”
Bobrovsky made his fifth straight start, and became the third rookie goalie in team history to win five straight game, tying him with Roman Cechmanek (2000-01) and Antero Niittymaki (2005-06). Pelle Lindbergh holds the record with seven straight wins during the 1982-83 season.
By the end of the third period, as Bobrovsky turned away all 10 shots he faced, the crow was chanting, “Bob! Bob! Bob!”
“It’s very pleasant to hear that,” Bobrovsky said through an interpreter. “But if I don’t play well, they won’t like it.”
Notes: Flyers C Danny Briere served the second game of his three-game suspension. He’ll also miss Saturday’s game at the New York Islanders, returning Sunday at Washington. … Rangers RW Ryan Callahan had his seven-game point streak snapped. … Flyers D Andrej Meszaros returned to the lineup after missing two games with a mild concussion. … Former Flyers forward and current broadcaster Bill Clement was sworn in as an American citizen between the first and second periods. He recited the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the ceremony.