One of the few bright spots that the Rangers had early in the season was what they weren't able to do for a long time: the ability to hold a lead late in games. That is why when their offense was struggling, the Rangers would be able to come away with 1-0 and 2-1 wins behind goalie Henrik Lundqvist night after night.
Now, the problem is back.
Mike Richards scored his 27th goal 2:16 into the extra session to give the Philadelphia Flyers a much needed 2-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Flyers now trail the Rangers by one point for 6th in the Eastern Conference, while the Rangers are looking to create a three-way tie for 4th place if they can beat the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at MSG.
The Rangers started off well against Martin Biron, as pressure from the newly formed Martin Straka-Brandon Dubinsky-Jaromir Jagr line paid off with Jagr's 20th goal of the season only 1:41 into the opening session. The Rangers, plagued by injuries to Scott Gomez, Blair Betts, and Michal Roszival, battled all the way into the 3rd period still holding the 1-0 lead.
Energy came in the form of Petr Prucha, who finally made his return to the lineup due to all of the injuries. Prucha provided the Rangers with physical play on the 3rd line, and got the Garden crowd excited when he initiated a heated battle against Scott Hartnell after he went into Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers only played with two regular centers (Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Drury) while Sean Avery and Ryan Hollweg, also getting into the lineup due to the injury to Betts, held the fort.
The Rangers looked to close out the game by playing tight defense, only to see Daniel Briere score his 30th goal of the season on a 4-on-4 to tie the game 7:32 into the third period. After the Rangers failed to clear the puck, again, tic-tac-toe passing between Jaroslav Modry, Vaclav Prospal, and finally Briere, left Lundqvist no chance to stop Briere's shot.
The score would remain the same after three periods, as the Rangers went 0-4 on the powerplay without mustering up a scoring chance.
Midway through the overtime session, the Rangers had the puck in Philadelphia's end, when Sean Avery made a cross-ice pass that was intercepted by Jason Smith. Smith then fed Richards, who with a stride on Avery and Marek Malik, put a backhand shot just between Lundqvist's pad and glove, to give the Flyers the 2-1 victory.