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Flyers Blast Rangers

Fights on the ice and in the stands are pretty standard when the Rangers play the Flyers. It should be interesting Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Mark Recchi had a goal and three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers stopped the New York Rangers 5-0 Wednesday night, their first dominant performance of the season.

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  • Eric Lindros punctuated a physical game with a resounding check on Petr Nedved with 6:20 left. After Lindros blasted Nedved loose from his helmet and off his skates, he bloodied Todd Harvey's eye in a fight in front of the Philadelphia bench. The teams play again Friday in New York.

    "Any time you get back-to-back games, things will heat up a little bit," Lindros said. "New York-Philadelphia is a pretty good rivalry."

    Lindros, assessed two minutes for elbowing and five minutes for fighting, skated off from an ovation from a sellout crowd that was depleted by early departures and ejections. Rangers and Flyers fans had several fights themselves.

    "It was pretty interesting in the stands, too," Lindros said.

    Philadelphia won its second straight after starting the year 0-5-1. The Rangers lost for the second time in six games. Flyers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, a former Rangers goalie, stopped 34 shots for his 36th career shutout.

    "There's a lot you can say about the game, but the bottom line is, it's not enough," Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch said. "It's not enough to keep it close or stay even in shots or get chances."

    Recchi, hampered by a series of concussions after the Flyers acquired him last season, is a completely different player this year. He has three goals and 11 assists for 14 points, second in the league.

    "Guys are putting the puck in the et for me," Recchi said.

    Moments before the Lindros incident, Jody Hull made it 4-0 on a shorthanded goal with 9:34 left. Recchi came up with New York's errant centering pass and rushed up ice. He slid a pass underneath Leetch to Hull, who one-timed it past Richter.

    With 18.2 seconds left, Recchi passed to rookie Simon Gagne for his fourth goal, clinching the game. Both of those goals resulted from defensive takeaways whereas the Flyers' winless streak was marred by carelessness in their own zone.

    "We're playing better defensively," said Lindros, with two trickles of blood on his chin. "And when we did have defensive breakdowns, the Beezer was perfect."

    Recchi scored on a nifty pass from John LeClair to make it 3-0 in the second, a rare moment of beauty in a game filled with crushing hits and chippy play. Lindros skated across the blue line and appeared to attempt a pass to Recchi, who was tied up and spun around. The puck went instead to LeClair, who shuttled it back to Recchi for his third goal of the season past a sprawling Mike Richter with 8:48 left in the period.

    "It was a solid game from everybody, in every aspect of the game," said defenseman Eric Desjardins.

    The Flyers bombarded Richter with shots in the opening minutes and finally broke through with six minutes left. Desjardins' deflected shot from a sharp angle fluttered in while Richter lay on the ice with Daymond Langkow on top of him.

    The Rangers complained that Richter was interfered with, but Langkow was pushed onto the goaltender.

    Valeri Zelepukin scored an unassisted goal 4:43 into the second when he intercepted a pass behind the net, skated in front and flicked it between Richter's pads for a 2-0 lead.

    Ulf Samuelsson, who signed a $4.55 million, two-year contract with the Flyers on Monday, did not play. He will make his debut Friday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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