Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Blair Betts scored the go-ahead goal against his former team and Nikolay Zherdev also scored against his former mates in Philadelphia’s 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Mike Richards and Chris Pronger supplied power-play tallies for the Flyers, who have won five in a row and six of their last seven.
Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 20 shots to become the first rookie netminder for Philadelphia to win five straight starts since Antero Niittymaki did so from December 22-29, 2005.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise obviously,” Betts said about Bobrovsky, who was signed as a free agent after going undrafted. “For a young guy, especially as a goaltender coming into this league, he shows a tremendous amount of maturity and poise in between the pipes.”
Brandon Dubinksy potted the lone goal for the Rangers, who had a three-game win streak snapped. Henrik Lundqvist took the loss after yielding all four goals on 21 shots in the first meeting between the two teams since the Flyers won a shootout on the last day of the 2009-10 regular season to advance to the playoffs at the expense of New York.
The Rangers took advantage of a Jeff Carter penalty at the end of the first period and netted a power-play goal early in the second as Carter’s hooking minor began along with the middle session.
Michael Del Zotto shot from the right circle and Dubinsky rammed home the rebound into the open cage from the left circle 1:53 into the stanza.
Philadelphia evened the score with a power-play marker just 3:19 later.
Claude Giroux spun around and sent a blind backhand pass across the crease to Richards, who dropped to a knee and one-timed a shot top shelf over Lundqvist from the bottom of the right circle.
The Flyers took the lead for good 9:32 into the period when Scott Hartnell chased Del Zotto behind the net and forced a turnover. Betts came down the left side, stripped the puck, moved to his right and sent a backhander that Lundqvist turned away before Betts backhanded the rebound past the sprawling netminder to put the hosts ahead 2-1.
Zherdev collected the rebound of his own shot and threw the puck toward the net from the right corner that deflected off Lundqvist’s stick up and over his left shoulder into the net with 4:40 to go in the period.
The final goal came when Kimmo Timonen, while Philly was on the power play, passed from the half-wall to the left point to Pronger, who one-timed a slap shot through a Carter screen past Lundqvist 3:07 into the final period.
“I didn’t feel they had to work that hard to get them (goals),” Lundqvist said. “I think we played pretty well. Obviously, the third one I have to have. We had a couple breakdowns overall. I just have to play better.”
The Flyers have outscored their opponents 14-3 in second periods over their last five games…Richards has 11 goals in 32 games against the Rangers…He has recorded a point in each of his last five games and in six of his last seven overall…Giroux had two assists and has scored at least two points in four of his last five contests. He has tallied a point in five straight and in 10 of 13 games this year…Ville Leino picked up an assist for the Flyers and has scored in four in a row, seven of eight and in 10 of 13 games this season…Timonen has also recorded a point in four consecutive games. Roman Cechmanek also won five straight games a rookie netminder for the Flyers from February 9-19, 2001…Pelle Lindbergh holds the franchise record with seven consecutive wins from December 22, 1982 through January 4, 1983…Andrej Meszaros returned after missing Monday’s game with a concussion suffered in Saturday’s win over the New York Islanders…Betts spent six seasons on Broadway while Zherdev was a member of the Blueshirts in 2008-09…Dubinsky has scored a goal in five of his last six games…He has scored eight points in his last seven games…Former Flyers center Bill Clement received his official naturalization as a United States citizen during the first intermission.