Simmonds, Voracek fuel Flyers

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 24, 2013
Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek scored to help the Philadelphia Flyers win their first game of the season, 2-1 over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The Flyers not only avoided their first 0-4 start in team history, they beat the Rangers for the first time in two seasons. The Rangers defeated the Flyers all six games last season, including a win in the Winter Classic. Both teams are last in the Atlantic Division at 1-3. The Flyers needed the good news after they learned All-Star forward Scott Hartnell is expected to miss four to eight weeks because of a broken left foot. Forward Brayden Schenn also served a one-game suspension for charging New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov. Philadelphia also played without forward Danny Briere (broken left wrist). But the Flyers had enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. Taylor Pyatt scored his third of the season for New York. The Flyers were already facing a crucial contest only four games into a 48-game season and a weekend road swing ahead in Florida. Before the game, general manager Paul Holmgren said Hartnell could be sidelined up to two months, and the team was ''looking around'' for scoring help. He quickly found it. The Flyers are on the brink of signing veteran forward Mike Knuble. Knuble will take a physical on Friday and should be available for weekend games at Florida and Tampa Bay. Holmgren said it was 50-50 whether Briere will be available then. The Flyers clearly had some frustrations to take out and they delivered against the Rangers. Nicklas Grossmann crushed Marian Gaborik on a clean check into the side boards early in the first period that brought the crowd to life. In the second, Flyers forward Tye McGinn pummeled Kris Newbury. McGinn connected with rights to Newbury's head before the punishment was mercifully stopped. The Flyers, though, needed more scoring punch after tallying only three goals in the first three games. They scored twice in the second period. Grossmann's shot from the point knocked off a couple of Rangers before Simmonds deflected the puck into the net. Simmonds' goal was briefly under review but the call stood. Just about every Flyers player touched the puck on a scrum in front of the net. Simmonds and Sean Couturier helped keep the puck alive before Voracek poked it in from the crease for the 2-0 lead. The Flyers finally had something to show after they came up empty in an 11-shot first period. Lundqvist kept the shutout going early in the second when he snared Braydon Coburn's slapper from the high slot. But two goals were enough, and Ilya Bryzgalov had a stout night in net. He was fantastic in the third when the Flyers killed both 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 penalties. The fans went wild and gave the orange and black a standing ovation when the Flyers held off the Rangers for a total of 3 minutes, 59 seconds on the power play. Bryzgalov made four saves over that span. Pyatt scored a power-play goal for the Rangers earlier in the third. It was New York's second game in two nights after beating Boston in overtime. Notes: 76ers G Jrue Holiday, wearing a Flyers stocking cap, was at the game. He was chosen as an Eastern Conference All-Star on Thursday and received a warm ovation when he was introduced to the crowd. ... The Rangers' win over Boston on Wednesday night was watched by 956,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network, making it the most-watched NHL regular-season game on any cable station in 11 years. ... Knuble played in 310 games over four seasons with the Flyers. He last played for Washington and played a game this week in the AHL. ''I think he's a good guy to throw in our mix right now with our injuries,'' Holmgren said.
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