“I didn’t want to do any fake moves,” Hossa said. “I just wanted to shoot it right away.”
Hossa took quick aim on Antero Niittymaki and slipped the puck between the pads in the 13th round of a shootout to give the New York Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
After 12 Rangers failed to come close to scoring, Hossa finally finished off one of the NHL’s longest shootouts. The Rangers, of course, know a little something about winning long shootouts. They went 15 rounds to beat Washington last season.
“I didn’t want to do anything special, I was just looking to shoot the puck,” Hossa said. “I always go five-hole when shooting because I don’t want to do any special moves.”
Simon Gagne scored twice and Peter Forsberg had a goal and an assist in regulation for the Flyers, who lost their home opener and remained winless (0-1-1) this season.
Niittymaki had 26 saves in his first game since deciding to have a cortisone shot instead of surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Joni Pitkanen added three assists for the Flyers.
Hossa was the 26th skater overall in the shootout, and the only one to score.
“I think the pressure is the same on all the shooters and goalies all the time,” Niittymaki said. “I don’t think it matters if you’re the 15th shooter or the first shooter.”
Philadelphia’s best shot in the shootout came when Mike Richards knocked one off the crossbar on its second chance. Henrik Lundqvist, who had 35 saves, was hardly challenged the rest of the way.
“I was just wondering if it was ever going to end,” Lundqvist said.
The crowd erupted when Forsberg skated on the ice, the sixth Flyers shooter. Like the rest of his team, he went back to the bench with nothing to show for his shot.
Making his regular-season debut as the Flyers captain, Forsberg said he waited so long to shoot because he had been “lacking confidence,” and said he wasn’t comfortable with new sticks that arrived earlier in the day.
“We have better shooters than me and I have been struggling scoring goals,” he said.
The Flyers wasted a power-play opportunity in the waning minutes of the game, with Lundqvist making two clutch stops to send the game into overtime. The Flyers outshot the Rangers 35-29 in regulation.
Philadelphia never took a shot on another power-play chance with 13.1 seconds left in overtime. The Rangers had only one shot in overtime. They finished 0-for-6 on the power play.
Adam Hall tied the score at four on a goal midway through the third.
The Rangers needed only 42 seconds to grab a 1-0 lead on Michael Nylander’s first goal.
Wearing the “C” on his sweater for the first time at home as a Flyer, Forsberg tied it on a two-man advantage. Gagne put them ahead late in the period on a slap shot from the right circle.
Michal Rozsival was left all alone and unchallenged to flick one past Niittymaki early in the second that tied it two-all. About 3 1/2 minutes later, Niittymaki caught another bad break when Thomas Pock’s pass off the board took a surprising slice back in front of the net that Matt Cullen had no trouble dumping in the net for a 3-2 lead.
Niittymaki seemed to have no trouble with movement in any direction nearly two weeks after he tore the labrum in his left hip in practice. Now he’s locked in a battle for the starting job with Robert Esche, who struggled against the Penguins.
The Flyers evened the score in the second on their second power-play goal of the game with Hossa out on a high sticking. Geoff Sanderson skated halfway behind the net before abruptly shifting direction, coming back around the net and sliding one past Lundqvist.
Gagne, who signed a five-year contract before training camp, delivered a go-ahead goal again when he picked up a loose puck and snapped a wrist shot from the slot.
Notes: Flyers D Mike Rathje is out indefinitely because of a herniated disc in his back and will have more tests Monday to decide if he needs surgery or rehabilitation. Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin said surgery would keep Rathje out about four weeks. If not, he could miss up to two weeks. However, D Denis Gauthier did return after missing the opener with a head injury. … There was a pre-game video tribute celebrating 40 years of Flyers history and the 1967-68 team was honoured at the first intermission. The fans booed the Eric Lindros highlights.