PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers had six days to stew over owning the NHL’s worst record, with just two points and one win through eight games.
Coming off their longest layoff of the season, Philadelphia had to shake off a little rust early, but it might have been the Flyers’ fresh legs that allowed them to finally finish off the slumping New York Rangers in the third period.
Braydon Coburn broke a tie early in the final frame, and Steve Mason made the lead stand up as the Flyers beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday night.
Entering the game, the Flyers had been outscored 12-2 in the third. Still, they allowed 10 shots and needed Mason to be perfect to preserve the victory.
“When you have a one-goal lead, that’s what you have to be, right?” Mason said. “It’s part of the position. The guys fought really hard. We were only rewarded with two goals, but this was a much better effort.”
Matt Read scored a short-handed goal and added an assist, and Mason made 30 saves for Philadelphia (2-7), which snapped a four-game losing streak. The Flyers are still off to their worst start through nine games.
“This is a big win against a big rival of ours,” Mason said. “Getting the two points here and hopefully being able to build off that is something we need to do and start getting ourselves out of this hole.”
In place of injured regular Henrik Lundqvist, New York’s Cam Talbot was solid in his NHL debut and made 25 saves. One of his best stops came less than three minutes in on a point-blank shot in the middle from Sean Couturier.
“That first save was big, just to kind of feel the puck,” Talbot said. “It’s a big confidence boost making the first save, obviously, and I should’ve made the rest after that.”
Despite the rookie’s strong effort, the Rangers (2-6) lost for the fifth time in six games. New York has one game left on its season-starting, nine-game road trip before its home opener on Monday.
The Rangers, who got a goal from Brad Richards, thought they had gotten even at 2, but a video replay determined that J.T. Miller kicked the puck into the net.
“I thought we stopped playing a little in the third, just with the puck, playing a little bit too cautious,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “But we kind of picked it up again, and we were OK.”
On the winning goal, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds obstructed Talbot’s view on Coburn’s slap shot. The defenceman beat Talbot stick-side at 3:33 of the third for his second goal of the season.
“We want to try to put as many pucks as we can at the net, and we have guys like Wayne, who is great at screening the goalie and cause havoc in there,” Coburn said. “As long as you can get the puck through, things can happen.”
Miller put a rebound past Mason just minutes later during a power play, but the goal was disallowed.
“I knew right away that he kicked it,” Mason said.
Read gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 10:53 into the game with Philadelphia’s first short-handed goal this season.
Read raced ahead after New York turned over the puck at the Philadelphia blue line. He kept the puck instead of passing to Couturier and scored with a shot between Talbot’s pads for his first goal of the season.
“I was lucky to get a lucky bounce there and get kind of a half breakaway,” Read said. “You got to have a shoot-first mentality if you want to score more than two goals a game, and that’s something our whole team has to work on.”
The Rangers tied it with 1:04 left in the first when Richards snapped a quick bad-angle shot from the left end of the goal line that deflected off Coburn’s leg and slipped past Mason. Chris Kreider and John Moore earned assists on Richards’ fifth goal.
New York’s Benoit Pouliot was given a major penalty for boarding Philadelphia’s Max Talbot face-first into the boards in front of the Rangers bench and was ejected from the game with three minutes left in the second period.
Philadelphia couldn’t capitalize on the lengthy power play that stretched into the third period. The Flyers went 0 for 4 overall on the power play, and are 3 for 37 this season.
NOTES: Both teams entered with an NHL-low 11 goals. … On Wednesday, Philadelphia loaned C Kris Newbury to AHL Adirondack to make room on the roster for Vincent Lecavalier, who returned from injury. … The Rangers recalled G Jason Missiaen from AHL Hartford to serve as Talbot’s backup. Lundqvist is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. … The Flyers travel to face the New York Islanders on Saturday. … The Rangers will play at Detroit on Saturday before hosting Montreal on Monday.