Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to carry the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the free-falling Flyers yesterday, but defenseman Chris Pronger refused to call the goalie the difference.
Instead, he again pointed at his team's failure to play hard for three periods.
"The way we played in the third, with desperation and tenacity on the puck - the grit, working the boards, moving our feet - that has to be for 60 minutes," said Pronger, whose team was badly outplayed as it fell behind, 1-0, early in the game. "We have to play that way for 60 minutes, and when we don't, that's going to be the result - whether Lundqvist is in the net or not."
In the third period, the Flyers outshot the Rangers, 16-5, but Lundqvist had all the answers.
"We have to be desperate each shift we're out there - whether it's the first period or the last period," Pronger said. "We can't wait until we get down and all of a sudden flip a switch. We've got to do it for 60 minutes."
Olympic hopefuls. Two Flyers - center Mike Richards and Pronger - are projected to make Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, according to NHL.com.
No Flyers are on NHL.com's projections for Team USA. Defenseman Matt Carle, however, could get a spot, especially if New Jersey's Paul Martin, a projected pick, isn't fully recovered from a broken arm.
Jeff Carter (Canada), Kimmo Timonen (Finland), Mika Pyorala (Finland), Oskars Bartulis (Latvia), and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Norway) are other Flyers who could earn Olympic spots.
Ticket exchange. Fans who could not attend yesterday's game because of the snow should call the Flyers' office (215-218-4326). They can exchange their unused tickets for those for a future game. About 9,000 fans were at the game, though it was listed as a sellout.
Breakaways. Jeff Carter had a game-high eight shots. . . . The Flyers are just 9-8-2 at home. . . . Rangers defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, a Cherry Hill native, was plus-one in 10 minutes, 34 seconds of action. . . . The Penguins' 3-2 shoot-out win over the Flyers on Thursday drew a 10.95 rating on FSN Pittsburgh - the second-highest regular-season rating in Pens history. The only contest with a higher rating: Mario Lemieux's comeback game in 2000.
- Sam Carchidi