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Rangers earn crucial win over rival Flyers

While it will be overshadowed, what transpired at the Garden will resonate for the Flyers and Rangers.

It was a superlative effort on Super Bowl Sunday.

While it will be overshadowed, what transpired at the Garden will resonate for the Flyers and Rangers.

“We know how important these games are,” Marian Gaborik said after the
Rangers’ 5-2 win over the Flyers. “We have played very well against them
this year.

“It was a big win.”

The win was the Rangers’ fourth in four games against the Flyers this
season. The Rangers have won the last six games in the series dating
back to the 2010-11 campaign. The rivals have two games remaining this
season, both in Philadelphia.

Gaborik, Artem Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan
Fedotenko scored goals for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves.

Anisimov added two assists and finished with a game-high three points.
The line of Anisimov, Gaborik and Derek Stepan combined for two goals
and five assists for seven points and were a collective plus-nine.

“It’s a line that has done a lot of good things for us early in the
year,” John Tortorella said. “That line will probably stay together and
hopefully it will keep on rolling.”

The Rangers have an Eastern Conference-best 71 points. They lead
Philadelphia by five points in the Atlantic Division race and have two
games in hand. The Rangers’ last regular season sweep of the Flyers
occurred in the 1971-72 season.

“We were in a position to win a hockey game and we don’t. We walk away.
We’re trying to chase down first in the division, first in the
conference, and we’re on the short end,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
said. “I think, generally speaking, [goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov] and our
team could player better than what we did. We had an opportunity to win a
game and we didn’t.”

The Rangers had advantages of 1-0 and 2-1 in the second and third
periods before Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds scored for the Flyers.

In recent years, facing a more potent opponent, the Rangers might have
sagged. This year, the Rangers have displayed a resiliency that Dubinsky
credited to the group’s collective “maturity.”

Their response came off the stick of Michael Del Zotto a full 36 seconds
after Simmonds tied the game at 2-2. Flyers defenseman Marc-Andre
Bourdon lost the puck to Anisimov, who found Gaborik with a pass.
Gaborik carried the puck into the offensive zone before setting up Del
Zotto from 28 feet away.

“It’s just a matter of finding the right opening and the right timing,”
Del Zotto said of his game-winner. “Playing a team like Philadelphia or
any team that comes hard on the forecheck, there’s going to be odd man
rushes available. I happened to find one there and we got a goal out of

Throughout the game there were chants of “You can’t beat us” from the
Garden faithful. The chants grew in intensity and steadiness following
Dubinsky’s third-period goal that increased the Rangers’ lead to 4-2.

Bryzgalov, who entered the game with a 2.83 goals against average and an
unsightly .899 save percentage, allowed four goals on 33 shots.
Fedotenko’s goal was an empty-netter with 16 seconds left.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter

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