Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots, Carl Hagelin scored his first NHL goal and the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 on Saturday to improve on their best home start in nearly 20 years.
After a scoreless first period that featured a fight 4 seconds into the game between New York's Brandon Prust and Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo, Brad Richards scored a power-play goal 54 seconds into the second.
Richards' eighth tally of the season came on a slick passing sequence by defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi after Richards had a goal disallowed 24 seconds earlier when Ryan Callahan swiped the puck with his glove in front of Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Girardi has more assists (18) against the Flyers than any other team during his career.
Hagelin knocked in a rebound at 5:06 of the third period. The 23-year-old Swede made his NHL debut Friday at Washington after being recalled from Connecticut of the AHL earlier this week. He was a sixth-round pick by the Rangers in 2007.
The Rangers' 6-1-1 start at Madison Square Garden is their best since they began the 1992-93 season 7-1-1. Philadelphia lost for only the third time this season on the road. The Rangers improved to 12-5-3 overall while the Flyers fell to 13-7-3.
New York leads the league in fewest total goals against, allowing 41 through 20 games.
Lundqvist is 7-1-0 in November and 9-4-3 this season. The shutout is his second of the season and the 37th of his career, moving the Swede to third on the Rangers' list for regular-season shutouts, three behind Dave Kerr. Lundqvist's best stop came at 1:37 of the first period, when he denied Scott Hartnell on a breakaway.
It was the Rangers' third-straight win against the Flyers, outscoring Philadelphia 11-2 in those contests. The Rangers beat the Flyers 7-0 in Philadelphia's previous visit to New York on March 6.
Both teams played yesterday and had to travel for today's 2 p.m. start at the Garden. The Rangers beat the Capitals 6-3, while the Flyers downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Philadelphia.
The game was a preview of the NHL's Winter Classic between the teams on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia. Aside from the Prust-Rinaldo skirmish plus another between Prust and Wayne Simmonds midway through the first, the game was relatively quiet for a Rangers-Flyers meeting.
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