Series (Game 3 of 5)

Philadelphia leads 3-2

Game 1: Thursday, December 5th
Game 2: Sunday, January 19th
Game 3: Saturday, February 8th
Game 4: Friday, March 7th
Game 5: Saturday, March 22nd

Rangers 1

(21-28-2, 51 pts)

Flyers 2

(29-14-2, 69 pts)

3:00 PM ET, February 8, 2003

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
NYR 0 1 01
PHI 0 1 12

S. Kapanen (Flyers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Cechmanek (Flyers - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .963

T. Poti (Rangers - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Forward scores first goal in 14 games in Philly debut

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Sami Kapanen was in Philadelphia for a half-day when he suddenly found his scoring touch.

The small forward scored his first goal in 14 games, and he did it in his debut with the Philadelphia Flyers. Kapanen snapped a third-period tie and lifted his new team to a 2-1 victory Saturday over the struggling New York Rangers.

Kapanen, acquired Friday in a deal with Carolina, has just seven goals this season after registering 27 last season. He got into town at 11:30 p.m., just 15 hours before his first Flyers game.

"It has been a tough couple of months in Carolina, and it's nice to win a game," he said. "I was expecting the trade, but it is still a shock. Hopefully I can come here and get a fresh start."

Kapanen took a pass from Mark Recchi, did a curl in which he moved the puck from backhand to forehand, and put a shot in behind Dan Blackburn 4:44 into the third period.

"It is one of those plays that I have tried the last couple of years," Kapanen said.

When asked if there was anything different he could have done on the shot, Blackburn said, "Yeah, stopped it."

It was the Flyers' second power-play goal of the game, tying the high this season for the anemic unit. Marcus Ragnarsson scored with the man advantage to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead in the second.

Radek Dvorak scored for the Rangers, who fell to 0-2-1-1 under coach-general manager Glen Sather. New York is winless in seven games (0-5-1-1) and in danger of missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

"We're trying to keep it enthusiastic and upbeat and positive," Sather said. "We've got a long way to go yet. There's nobody walking away with the eighth (playoff) spot. We just have to put some wins together."

Eric Lindros was again kept off the scoresheet in Philadelphia. In four road games since the Flyers traded him to the Rangers, Lindros has just one goal. He was booed each time he touched the puck, and more so when he ran over goalie Roman Cechmanek in the first period.

"I just go out and play," Lindros said. "We have to fight tooth and nail."

Dvorak tied it at 1 just 2:47 after the Rangers fell behind. Dvorak has only five goals this season and had gone 15 games without one.

The Flyers entered tied for the second-worst home power play in the NHL, but they took advantage of their first chance. Just nine seconds into a power play that was only scheduled to last 25 seconds, Ragnarsson came out of the penalty box to score his second this season and first in 26 games.

Philadelphia went 2-for-5 on the power play and has clicked only 15 times in 113 home chances. The Flyers have only 29 power-play goals this season and are converting just 13 percent of their opportunities.

Since allowing three goals in 11 shots against New Jersey on Jan. 30, Cechmanek has saved 97 of 101 shots as the Flyers are 2-0-1 following the All-Star game.

"He just looks to me like he's in control everywhere in his net now," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There was two saves in the third period which I thought were sure goals."

Philadelphia has not scored more than two goals in seven straight games, dating to Jan. 21.

Blackburn started consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 6-8. It was just the fifth appearance since Dec. 14 for the 19-year-old Blackburn, who faced 19 shots -- a season-low for Philadelphia and the fewest allowed by New York.

Game notes
G Mike Dunham, out for the second straight game because of a groin injury, skated Saturday morning. He expects to be ready for New York's next game on Wednesday. ... Kapanen is the fifth player to score this season in his Flyers debut. ... It was Philadelphia's fifth game with two power-play goals. ... New York, which recorded 27 shots, was 1-for-7 on the power play.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press