PHILADELPHIA – Brendan Shanahan ended Philadelphia’s perfect home record and its time alone in first place in the Atlantic Division.
Shanahan scored the only goal in a shootout to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Thursday night, the Flyers’ first home loss of the season.
“It shows that we’re doing something right,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan scored on New York’s second shootout attempt and beat Martin Biron to give the Rangers their third shootout win of the season.
Shanahan, Fedor Tyutin and Petr Prucha scored for the Rangers in regulation, helping them win their fourth straight game and move into a tie with the Flyers for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves and stopped all three shots in the shootout. He’s stopped eight of nine shots on goal in three shootout games.
“The big key to us in shootouts is Hank,” Shanahan said. “He puts you in a position where you’re skating up the ice with the puck with a chance to win it as opposed to playing from behind.”
Jim Dowd, Danny Briere and Denis Tolpeko scored for the Flyers, who were hoping to move to 7-0 at home for the first time since the 1986-87 season.
“It’s an extra point we’d like to have, but it doesn’t take away from anything we did in this game tonight,” said Biron, who had 26 saves
The Flyers, who were getting badly outshot again much like they have all season, started attacking Lundqvist midway through the third. But he made some amazing saves that nearly silenced Philadelphia’s momentum.
Tolpeko, though, changed all that with his first career goal. Jason Smith’s shot bounced off Lundqvist and Tolpeko was ready near the crease to slip in the puck and even the score at 3.
Prucha ended a scoreless drought that stretched back to opening night with a slapshot early in the third that put the Rangers ahead 3-2.
Both teams were feeling a bit feisty in a game between the Atlantic Division rivals that had several skirmishes. Colton Orr and Riley Cote each got five minutes for fighting in the first period that seemed to set the pace for a game that had 14 trips to the penalty box.
Briere, signed away from Buffalo as a free agent, liked the emotion of a Rangers-Flyers rivalry.
“I hear about it around town and those are the games that are exciting to play,” he said. “They’re easy to get motivated for and tonight was a good, exciting game for the fans to watch.”
The fans had to love Flyers comebacks in the second and third periods that helped set them up for the shootout.
Briere gave the Flyers a boost late in the second and tied the score at 2. The puck slid his way after a faceoff and his slapshot past Lundqvist gave him his seventh goal of the season.
On a play that was nearly a rerun of their first-period goal, Shanahan flicked a short pass from Scott Gomez over Biron’s left shoulder 1:47 into the second for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
Briere, though, couldn’t help the Flyers in the shootout. Rangers centre Chris Drury, Briere’s former teammate in Buffalo, tipped off Lundqvist about Briere’s shootout technique.
“I took a chance and I poke-checked him,” Lundqvist said. “I think it surprised him a little bit and he couldn’t get it off.”
Maybe the Flyers still need to convince their fans that last season’s disaster was nothing more than aberration because there were still a surprising number of patches of empty seats.
Dowd jolted the crowd only 3:23 into the game when he scored his first goal in 11 games, knocking the puck off Lundqvist’s left leg for a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers tied the score on a perfect one-timer from Gomez to Tyutin in the left circle.
“We’re all together,” Gomez said. “We all feel more confident. Everyone’s there to back each other up and that’s a good sign of a team. We’re starting to believe in each other.”
The Flyers entered the game outshot by a whopping 572-418 margin and needed a third-period outburst to even come close to New York’s total. The Rangers outshot the Flyers 29-23.
Notes: Flyers LW Simon Gagne, out with a concussion for the fourth straight game, rode a stationary bike for 12 minutes earlier on Thursday. … Tyutin’s goal gave him 50 career points. … Smith recorded his 1,000th career blocked shot. … The Rangers were 0-for-5 on the power play.