Del Zotto's SH goal lifts Flyers over Rangers
Mar. 01, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Desperate for a postseason berth, the Philadelphia Flyers are treating every game as though they are already in the playoffs.
Michael Del Zotto's short-handed goal 1:19 into the third period lifted the Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds also scored for the Flyers, who snapped a two-game losing streak and cooled off the Rangers.
Philadelphia remained six points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Huge two points," Del Zotto said. "We talked about it before the game that we needed to play with desperation and urgency, and we did that.
"It's the best time of year. We're competing for a playoff spot."
J.T. Miller and John Moore tallied for New York, which lost in regulation for the first time in 11 games (7-1-3) and had a five-game, road-winning streak snapped.
"We didn't have the puck a lot tonight, didn't win a lot of battles, and spent too much time in our own zone," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said.
Del Zotto netted the go-ahead goal when Sean Couturier sent a cross-ice pass to him for a wrist shot from a sharp angle over goalie Cam Talbot's glove.
"(Couturier) made a great pass, I picked my spot, and it went in for me," Del Zotto said.
Steve Mason kept the Flyers ahead by turning aside several shots during a late Rangers push when he made seven saves in 34 seconds. His best stops during the flurry with 7:30 minutes left came when he extended a pad to deny Moore and moved laterally to stop Rick Nash on the doorstep.
Mason made 34 saves in just his second game after missing eight due to a right knee injury.
"Today was an absolute must-win," Mason said. "Everybody in the dressing room knew the situation going in, and I think the guys responded well. We just have to continue pushing forward."
In addition to allowing the short-handed goal, the Rangers' power play was ineffective, going 0-for-3 with just two shots.
"We were playing against a team that was desperate," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "I don't say it too often about too many parts of our game, but unfortunately our power play got outworked tonight."
Asked specifically what the problem was on the man-advantage, Vigneault said, "Execution, foot speed, puck speed, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."
Philadelphia has killed 42 of its last 49 short-handed situations.
Moore fired a slap shot over Mason's left pad from the point to put New York in front 2-1 with 8:05 left in the second period. It was the defenseman's first goal of the season and eighth in 211 NHL games.
Philadelphia tied it at 2 with 5:23 left in the period when Raffl deflected Braydon Coburn's shot from the point through Talbot's legs.
The Flyers had a chance to take the lead in the waning seconds of the period, but Jakub Voracek's breakaway attempt went over the net.
The Rangers appeared to take a 1-0 lead just 7 seconds into the game when Derek Stepan's turnaround shot from just in front of center ice beat Mason. But New York's Chris Kreider was called for a delayed offside, and the goal was waved off.
The Flyers scored first on Read's sixth goal of the season midway through the first period. Talbot saved Couturier's shot from the slot, but the rebound popped in the air just to the right of Talbot. Read then batted it over Talbot's right pad.
The Rangers answered just 24 seconds later when they took advantage of Luke Schenn's turnover in his zone. Carl Hagelin passed the puck in front to Miller, who was stopped on his first attempt, but Miller deked past Mason on the rebound with a nifty backhander.
Simmonds scored an empty-net goal with 0.3 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Flyers D Nicklas Grossman was struck in the head while blocking Nash's shot with 15:19 left in the second period. After staying down for several minutes, Grossman was helped off the ice and didn't return. ... Actor David Boreanaz, a Flyers fan, was in attendance and sitting next to Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL. ... Two Rangers fans were ejected from the upper deck late in the third period. ... New York won the season series 3-1.