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Rangers Roll Over Coyotes


No one is forgetting that Mike Richter is still the No. 1 goaltender on the New York Rangers. That department is still in pretty good hands, though, with Kirk McLean.

Playing his third straight game in place of the injured Richter, McLean made 27 saves to spark a 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.

"He made some big saves on some scrambles (in front of the net)," Rangers captain Brian Leetch said as the Rangers won their second straight after going winless in their first three games.

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Game summary

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  • McLean, picked up by the Rangers in the offseason as a backup to Richter, only allowed a first-period goal to Travis Green and a third-period goal to Juha Ylonen.

    In between, he made numerous sparkling stops, including a great glove save on Ylonen in the second period.

    "We're coming along nicely," McLean said. "Guys are coming back from injuries. Mike could be back next week. If we have a full lineup, we can get on a roll and build some confidence."

    Richter has been out with a lower back problem, but said after the game that he was "pain-free."

    "I've been doing therapy.

  • and I feel fine. I'll practice with the team tomorrow. I need to take it day by day."
  • Adam Graves and Mike York each scored early in the third period to spark the Rangers offense, which has suddenly produced seven goals in two games after scoring just three in the first three contests.

    Graves broke a tie with a power-play goal at 2:13 and York scored at 7:04 to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead anthey withstood a late comeback try by the Coyotes.

    Mike Knuble and Tim Taylor also scored for the Rangers, who beat the Coyotes for the eighth straight time at Madison Square Garden.

    "They're a good team," Green said of the Rangers. "They battled hard. We probably played too wide open, gave them too many chances."

    The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead at 15:20 of the first period when Green scored on an off-balance shot from in front.

    Keith Tkachuk set up the play by taking possession of the puck behind the net, carrying it around and passing to Dallas Drake high on the left side. Drake fired to Green in the low slot and he beat McLean with a quick shot while falling down.

    The Rangers tied it at 12:43 of the second on a goal by Knuble, who beat Mikhail Shtalenkov with a shot from the low slot after a great pass from Taylor behind the goal line.

    Graves then put the Rangers ahead when he deflected a shot by Petr Nedved from the right side. York made it 3-1 when he beat Shtalenkov with a slap shot from above the left circle.

    Ylonen scored on a rebound with 6:14 left to cut New York's lead to 3-2, but Taylor closed it out for New York with an empty-netter with 32 seconds remaining.

    "We came out strong in the first 20 (minutes), but we got away from our game plan," Tkachuk said. "We just stopped and watched them. We were happy going into the third period with a 1-1 tie. We just lost our composure."

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