New York, NY (Sports Network) – Ryan Callahan registered his first career hat trick, scoring four times, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 24 shots to record his league-leading ninth shutout of the season, as the New York Rangers handled the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-0, at Madison Square Garden.
It was the first four-goal game by a Rangers player since Marian Gaborik accomplished the feat on January 19th against Toronto. Gaborik returned to the lineup after missing the last six games with a concussion, but did not register a point in 14 1/2 minutes of ice time.
“It was a good feeling. We needed these two points so it was a good time for me to get my first career hat trick,” Callahan said. “A few of them were tap- ins so I have to credit my teammates.”
Callahan also added an assist, while Mats Zuccarello recorded his first-ever two-goal game for the Rangers, who snapped a five-game slide versus Philadelphia. New York has won two straight and sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings with 74 points. Artem Anisimov also lit the lamp in the win.
Philadelphia now has lost four straight for the first time since an 0-4-1 stretch from March 20-27 of last season.
Brian Boucher started and allowed four goals on 18 shots before being replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who yielded three goals on 18 shots.
Despite the loss, the Flyers, with 86 points are still two points in front of Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and two points ahead of Boston for first place in the East. The Penguins and Bruins are both idle on Sunday.
“We were not on our game today pretty much from start to finish,” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The Rangers had better jump, better pop and they won the game.”
New York got on the board 51 seconds into the contest. After winning the battle for a loose puck, Brandon Dubinsky gathered behind the net, skated in front and sent a backhand pass to Callahan, who jammed it home from on the doorstep.
Callahan then struck for a power-play goal at 12:58 when he fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Boucher from an extreme angle below the left circle to make it a 2-0 game.
The Rangers had a goal waved off early in the second period after video replay showed Sean Avery used a kicking motion to put the puck in the net, but the hosts struck for a pair just under 90 seconds apart.
First, it was Zuccarello finishing off a two-on-one rush when he put a wrister through Boucher at 5:06. Then after Kris Versteeg lost the puck in front of his own net, Callahan roofed a shot under the crossbar to complete the hat trick and give his club a 4-0 lead at 6:28.
Callahan re-directed Matt Gilroy’s pass home with his stake for his fourth marker of the game at 4:20 of the third. The goal was reviewed, but upheld after replay showed no kicking motion.
Anisimov’s breakaway tally at 14:41 made it 6-0 and Zuccarello notched his second of the contest with 1:13 remaining to close out the scoring.
Flyers forward Jeff Carter (illness) missed the game…The Rangers improved to 15-16-3 on home ice this season, while Philadelphia dropped to 20-9-3 as the guest…Lundqvist now has 33 career shutouts.