NEW YORK (AP) — After firing their general manager and coach in recent weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers have responded to a midseason shake-up.
Nolan Patrick scored the lone goal against Henrik Lundqvist in a shootout that lasted four rounds and Philadelphia beat the scuffling New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday night.
“I had a plan,” Patrick said. “I watched the first couple of guys go in (and) he was pretty deep in his net. That’s a move that I like to do. I have done it quite a bit throughout my life so far.”
Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds scored in regulation, and Michal Neuvirth made 32 saves as the Flyers won for the third time in four games since changing coaches. Scott Gordon was named interim coach after replacing Dave Hakstol behind the bench on Dec. 17. Chuck Fletcher took over as general manager in early December after Ron Hextall was fired on Nov. 26.
Chris Kreider and Boo Nieves scored for the Rangers, who lost their fifth in six games. Lundqvist stopped 28 shots in his first game since last Sunday’s overtime loss to Vegas.
“I looked this morning at the standings and the separation is getting bigger,” Lundqvist said after his team lost in extra time at Madison Square Garden for the fourth time this month. “We’ve got to start winning here if we want to be a part of that (playoff) race. Take this break, regroup and realize how desperate we need to be coming back.”
The 30-year-old Neuvirth played in only his third game of the season and is one of six Flyers goalies to see action during the tumultuous season in Philadelphia.
“This was one of the biggest wins in my career,” he said. “First win of the season is always huge. I have to keep moving forward.”
Simmonds gave the Flyers a one-goal advantage 5:01 into the third period when he buried a rebound on the power play. The Rangers were short a man due to a too-many-men penalty. Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek assisted on the play.
But the lead was short-lived as Nieves tied it 22 seconds later. Rangers rookie Lias Andersson forced a turnover behind the Flyers net to set up the fourth-line center. Nieves, playing in his fourth game of the season, scored his second NHL goal.
Raffl evened the game 1-all at 1:46 of the second when he scored his first of the season. The veteran forward kept the puck himself on an odd-man rush and beat Lundqvist to the glove side. Philadelphia defenseman Travis Sanheim assisted on the play.
“You feel a difference now, confidence-wise, in the locker room,” Raffl said. “We played pretty good ever since we came back from that road trip. We’ve got to keep pushing in that direction.”
The Rangers struck first when Kreider snapped a wrist shot under Neuvirth’s blocker at 10:05 of the opening period. Kevin Hayes made a clever play to exit the zone, dancing around Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov before making a spinning pass to lead a streaking Kreider into the offensive zone all alone. Hayes extended his point streak to seven games, setting a career high.
The Rangers have been in a skid since a 4-0 loss at Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving, going 3-6-4 in their last 13 games.
“We got into a third period trying to win a game,” alternate captain Marc Staal said. “We end up tying each other and lose in the shootout. It’s disappointing.”
NOTES: New York scratched defenseman Tony DeAngelo for the second consecutive game. … Philadelphia scratched defenseman Christian Folin and forwards Jori Lehtera and Jordan Weal.
Flyers: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Rangers: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
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