The Rangers fought their way to a well earned 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Garden tonight, but the win unfortunately was overshadowed by the loss of Ryan Callahan, who succumbed to a shoulder injury early in the third period.
Callahan and Flyers forward Max Talbot were involved in an altercation to the left of Lundqvist five minutes into the final frame when Talbot seemed to pull on the Ranger captain's shoulder before falling to the ice and Callahan skated off to the locker room in a great deal of pain.
Not all was doom and gloom for the 3-3 Rangers, who imposed their will on the Flyers from the get-go in the first period. Del Zotto, who had an superb game tonight, shot a puck along the ice from the point that managed to avoid skates and sticks and found its way shortside past Bryzgalov for the 1-0 lead just under two minutes into the game.
The Flyers came out to play somewhat better to start the second period, even earning a 5 on 3 for 1:13 in the middle of the frame with Brad Richards and Derek Stepan off in the box. But the Flyers failed to capitalize and the Rangers earned themselves a powerplay and an eventual goal when Max Talbot hauled down Del Zotto.
Nash, Del Zotto and Callahan completed a nifty passing play in front of the Flyer net with the captain depositing the eventual game winner in the empty net at 11:31 of the second period.
After the Callahan injury took the air out of the Garden, the Flyers managed to get one past Lundqvist on the powerplay, following an egregious defensive breakdown which left Kimmo Timonen wide open in the high slot, who wired a shot over Lundqvist's glove hand at 7:09.
I made it a point to specifically look for Hagelin who hasn't scored now in 35 games. He was more noticeable than he's been in the Rangers first 5 games, but you would like to see him potting goals behind goalies at some point. Soon.
Lundqvist could've taken a vacation back to Frolunda during tonight's game and still the Flyers would've been held scoreless through 40 minutes. However he was his usual self when the Rangers needed the Vezina winner during the last final few frantic minutes.
Anyone seen Giroux tonight? How about Simmonds? Read? Schenn? Excellent team defense leaving the Flyers big guns irrelevant.
We've been talking a lot about the Rangers woes in the faceoff circle recently. Tonight the Rangers dominated in the circle 40-21.
Let's hope Callahan's shoulder injury isn't serious enough that it will require surgery and end his season before it really started. While he'll likely be out for a bit in the near term, it's now up to guys like Hagelin, Boyle and Pyatt to step up big time in his absence.
Follow me on twitter: @NYRblogneill
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org