Rangers strike early, hold on to beat Fly­ers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Aaron Bracy

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Matt Puem­pel scored in his first game with the Rangers, and Hen­rik Lundqvist made 40 saves to help New York de­feat the Philadel­phia Fly­ers 3-2 on Fri­day.

Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes also net­ted goals for the Rangers, who re­bounded from Wed­nes­day’s 6-1 home drub­bing against Pitts­burgh. Lundqvist was lifted af­ter al­low­ing four goals on seven shots in the sec­ond pe­riod of that one, but he re­sponded with a strong per­for­mance against the Fly­ers to im­prove to 32-13-4 in his ca­reer against Philadel­phia.

Bray­den Schenn and Chris Van­deVelde scored in the third pe­riod for Philadel­phia, which threat­ened through­out the fi­nal pe­riod. The Fly­ers opened a three­game home­s­tand with its third loss in the last four games.

Stepan gave New York a 1-0

lead in the first pe­riod when he beat Steve Mason with a wrist shot from the slot. J.T. Miller set up the goal with an as­sist from be­hind the net af­ter a turnover by Philadel­phia’s Scott Laughton, play­ing in his sec­ond game since be­ing re­called from Le­high Val­ley of the AHL.

Stepan has 28 points (nine goals, 19 as­sists) in 30 ca­reer games vs. Philadel­phia.

Puem­pel, claimed off waivers from Ot­tawa on Mon­day, gave the Rangers a 2-0 ad­van­tage 1:34 later with his first goal of the sea­son. A 2011 first-round pick of the Sen­a­tors, Puem­pel went with­out a point in 13 games with Ot­tawa this sea­son and had just four goals and two as­sists in 52 ca­reer games.

But he showed a deft scor­ing touch when he skated past Philadel­phia’s An­drew Mac­Don­ald, set­tled a bounc­ing back­hand pass from Jimmy Ve­sey and buried the puck past Mason from close range.

The first pe­riod fea­tured a pair of fights and phys­i­cal play that is typ­i­cal of the ri­valry.

Philadel­phia’s Travis Konecny took on Bran­don Pirri af­ter Pirri boarded Bran­don Man­ning. Konecny drew an in­sti­ga­tion mi­nor in ad­di­tion to a fight­ing ma­jor to erase a Fly­ers power-play op­por­tu­nity.

Chris Krei­der got the better of Man­ning in a fight with 1.8 sec­onds left in the pe­riod.

Hayes ex­tended New York’s lead to 3-0 in the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter an­other bad Philadel­phia turnover in its zone. Mark Streit sent the puck from be­hind the net to the blue line right on the stick of New York’s Nick Holden. Holden passed to a wide-open Hayes in the slot, and Hayes redi­rected the puck over Mason’s

left shoul­der for his 10th goal of the sea­son.

Van­deVelde got the Fly­ers on the board early in the third pe­riod. Mac­Don­ald sent the puck in front and it car­omed off Van­deVelde’s skate past Lundqvist. The play was re­viewed but of­fi­cials al­lowed the goal.

Gostis­be­here’s slap shot from the slot with 2:04 left made it 3-2. But Philadel­phia couldn’t get any­thing else past Lundqvist.

One of his best saves came mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod when he used his mask to deny Claude Giroux from close range on a 2-on-1 break. NOTES >> Laughton is re­plac­ing Sean Cou­turier, who is out four to six weeks with a lower body in­jury af­ter be­ing hurt in Tues­day’s game at Florida. The Rangers went ahead in the all-time se­ries that has been played 340 times. New York has 152 wins to Philadel­phia’s 151. There have been 37 ties. Fri­day was the first of four meet­ings be­tween the teams. . Giroux hasn’t scored a goal in seven straight games.

UP NEXT

FLY­ERS >> Host Cal­gary on Sun­day night.

DERIK HAMIL­TON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Philadel­phia Fly­ers’ Wayne Sim­monds, cen­ter, and Shayne Gostis­be­here (53) re­act fol­low­ing Fri­day’s loss to the New York Rangers.

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