Flyers Blank Struggling Rangers

Former "American Idol" finalist Bucky Covington performs onstage during the American Idol Season 5 Finale on May 24, 2006 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.
Brian Boucher gave everyone something positive to talk about.

Boucher made 32 saves and Michal Sykora scored his first goal as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New York Rangers 3-0 on Thursday night.

Boucher, who led the league with a 1.91 goals-against average last season, allowed 14 goals in his previous three starts, and was yanked in his last two starts at home.

After failing to stop several shots during a practice drill Wednesday, Boucher smashed his stick over the crossbar in anger.

"It really wasn't a big deal," Boucher said about the incident, which was replayed several times on a local television station. "I've broken plenty of sticks. Every goalie does it. For it to be a story, it was a real slow day. People think I'm a mental case. I'm fine. My head is fine."

Related Links

Game summary

More NHL features:

  • Enforce-O-Meter rankings
  • Exclusive audio
  • It was Philadelphia's second victory over the Rangers in three days. The Flyers snapped a seven-game winless streak with a 5-4 victory at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

    The Rangers have lost five of their last six games.

    "They locked up the middle of the ice very well," Rangers captain Mark Messier said. "They protected their slot very well and didn't allow any second or third chances."

    Rick Tocchet also scored for Philadelphia, and Daymond Langkow added an empty-net goal.

    Sykora, who spent the last two seasons in the Czech Republic, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 7:07 into the game when he one-timed a crossing pass from Paul Ranheim just inside the far post.

    Sykora's last goal came on Nov. 8, 1998, when he played for Tampa Bay.

    "Everybody zoomed to (Ranheim), and he put a perfect pass on my stick," Sykora said.

    Boucher, who was the first rookie in 50 years to allow less thatwo goals a game, saw his GAA dip from 4.52 to 3.83.

    He made a couple of nice stops in the final minutes when New York pulled its goalie during a power-play for a 6-on-4 advantage.

    "The way we were playing, everybody should've broken a stick," Tocchet said.

    Tocchet made it 2-0 by beating goalie Mike Richter with a backhander 5:21 into the third period.

    Philadelphia outshot New York 17-9 in the third period. The Rangers entered the game with the league's best power-play unit on the road, but went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.

    "We were a little more aggressive," Flyers coach Craig Ramsay said. "It is a fine line. If you are too aggressive, you get caught for odd-man rushes, but we found a better balance."

    The Flyers squandered a five-minute power play after Eric Lacroix nailed Justin Williams into the boards midway through the first. LaCroix was called for boarding and received a game misconduct.

    Philadelphia's best chance on the power play came when Eric Desjardins hit the far post on a shot from the top of the circle. A penalty by Peter White wiped out two of the five minutes.

    "My visor went up against the glass, and my I smashed my nose. I felt a little woozy," said Williams, who returned to the game after sustaining a minor cut to his nose.


  • The Flyers played without injured forwards John LeClair, Mark Recchi and Keith Jones and defenseman Chris Therien.
  • Messier tied Wayne Gretzky for sixth on the career games list at 1,487.
  • The game marked the 200th meeting between the rivals. The Flyers hold an 83-80-37 advantage.
  • Flyers LW Ruslan Fedotenko picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Tocchet's goal.
  • Desjardins had his 200th assist as a Flyer on Langkow's goal.

    ©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed