The Flyers-Rangers rivalry has been marked by violence.
Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 win was no different.
Brandon Dubinsky wrestled with Tom Sestito in the first period following an unpenalized charge. Rookie defenseman Stu Bickel fought Wayne Simmonds and Sestito in the first two periods. Brandon Prust fought Sestito in the third, which earned the Flyers’ enforcer a game misconduct and an ejection. Sestito finished with 25 penalty minutes in 3:48 of ice time spanning seven shifts.
“Maybe that’s his game. We stick together and we’re not going to allow anyone to do that,” Bickel said of Sestito. “It’s not my job to critique his game or the way they want him to play.”
Bickel, who finished with 16 penalty minutes in 8:17 of ice time also contributed an important defensive play that stymied a Flyers surge in the second period. Bickel deflected a Brayden Schenn shot high and wide of the Rangers’ goal while Henrik Lundqvist was sprawled on the ice.
“He made some good plays,” John Tortorella said of Bickel. “High marks for him.”
The Rangers and Bruins entered Sunday tied for the NHL lead in fighting majors with 38, according to hockeyfights.com. There was one fight in Boston’s 4-1 win over Washington yesterday.
No more streaking
Brayden Schenn’s goal at the 12:02 mark of the second period did more than just tie the game at 1-1. It also ended Henrik Lundqvist’s shutout streak at 182:32. The last goal Lundqvist had allowed prior to Schenn’s tying marker occurred with 49 seconds left in the second period of the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime win in Boston on Jan. 21. The Bruins’ goal scorers on that day were defensemen Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid.
“I don’t really think about the past when I got in against this team,” Lundqvist said. “It doesn’t really matter what you have done in the past. They are so skilled and they will make you pay if you got out there and think it’s going to take care of itself because you have had some success in the past. I think the key against the Flyers is you just have to work really hard.”
The Rangers wore their Winter Classic sweater. … The organization announced on Friday that Erik Christensen and a 2013 seventh-round pick were traded to the Minnesota Wild for AHL player Casey Wellman. … Flyers center Zac Rinaldo was fined $5,000 for two incidents in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Devils, a second-period late hit on Devils’ center Jacob Josefson and a “dangerous trip” of Zach Parise in the third which sparked a melee. … Despite participating in the warm-up, Steve Eminger was a healthy scratch, along with Jeff Woywitka and Wojtek Wolski. Andreas Lilja, ex-Ranger Jody Shelley and Danny Briere sat out the game for the Flyers.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.