NEW YORK (AP) -- Petr Sykora showed just how happy he was to get
out of Anaheim and move into his own version of Fantasyland.
Sykora was thrilled with the weekend trade that sent him to New
York and he made the most of his Rangers debut, posting a goal and
assist in a 4-2 victory Tuesday night over the Calgary Flames.
"It feels great to be on this team," Sykora said with through
a wide smile. "It's not like coming to a new team. I know so many
of the guys. I feel I'm a big part of it already."
Sykora wasn't comfortable in the land of Disney but he was at
ease in the Rangers dressing room that has six other players from
his native Czech Republic. One is idol Martin Straka, who was set
up for a goal by his countryman and then assisted on Sykora's first
with the Rangers.
"I'm going to be telling my kids that Straka got a helper on my
first goal," said Sykora, who like Straka comes from the town of
Straka and Sykora helped the Rangers rally from an early 2-0
deficit, and Jason Ward put the finishing touches on the win when
he netted his first in 17 games to snap a tie 5:37 into the third
period. Dominic Moore added an empty-net goal with 37.5 seconds
That sent the Northwest Division-leading Flames to their second
straight loss following a four-game winning streak.
"We've been getting up and maybe we sit back a bit," Calgary
captain Jarome Iginla said. "Maybe we play too safe and we stop
Ward gave the Rangers their first lead when he took a pass from
Ville Nieminen, who whiffed on a shot, and scored into an open net
as goalie Miikka Kiprusoff tried to get back in position.
Sykora, acquired Sunday from Anaheim, made an immediate impact
in his return to the Atlantic Division. He had only seven goals and
20 points with the Mighty Ducks in 34 games but needed just 32
minutes to net two points with the Rangers.
New York rallied in the hard-hitting game for its second
straight victory after three straight overtime losses.
Rookie Dion Phaneuf and fellow defenseman Rhett Warrener scored
38 seconds apart in the first period for Calgary in the only
meeting between the teams.
"Against a hardworking team that has skill, we have to play a
full game," Phaneuf said. "We didn't do that and it cost us."
After Henrik Lundqvist make a big save on Iginla following a
pretty setup by Tony Amonte, the Rangers cut the deficit in half.
Sykora made a pass from the goal line into the slot to Straka, who
ripped a shot past Kiprusoff at 5:03 -- two seconds after a Rangers
power play expired.
Sykora used Phaneuf to tie it.
Again, the former New Jersey Devils star, positioned himself
along the Calgary goal line. He attempted another centering pass
that struck Phaneuf and ricocheted into the net to make it 2-2 with
7:51 remaining in the second period.
Straka was thrilled to see Sykora rewarded.
"When you score a goal and you play well, you have to be
happy," he said.
The Rangers seemed to be in a lull during the first period,
perhaps already looking ahead to Thursday's festivities when
longtime captain Mark Messier will have his number raised to the
Madison Square Garden rafters.
Even if it wasn't already in their thoughts, they were reminded
by the stenciled number behind each goal.
"I saw behind the net, the number 11 and I started to think
about it," Lundqvist said.
Calgary jumped on New York just 20 seconds after Petr Prucha was
sent off for interfering with Kiprusoff.
Phaneuf, who along with Prucha and Lundqvist are in the second
tier of NHL rookies behind stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander
Ovechkin, netted his 11th by banking in a shot off of New York
defenseman Marek Malik.
Warrener, another defenseman, made it 2-0 with his first goal in
It was a sudden, unexpected burst.
Lundqvist was coming off his second shutout of the season in the
Rangers' 4-0 win Saturday over Florida, which came on the heels of
a 1-0 overtime loss to Tampa Bay in his previous start.
But he was sharp the rest of the way and finished with 19 saves.
He made several good stops during the Flames' late second-period
power play after the Rangers tied it. Calgary had another power
play in the third and pressed for the tying goal, but couldn't beat
Lundqvist, who by that time was having his name chanted again by
the appreciative crowd.
Flames D Roman Hamrlik, who assisted on Phaneuf's goal,
missed the previous 12 games with a knee injury. ... The Rangers,
who had 29 shots, are 37-50-15 against the Flames -- 25-23-5 at
home. ... Straka has 22 points in 16 games.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Madison Square Garden Location: New York, New York
Referees: Paul Devorski, Ian Walsh Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Pierre Racicot
Attendance: 18,200 (101.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Dion Phaneuf (10)
(Power Play) Assists: Roman Hamrlik, Daymond Langkow
Rhett Warrener (3)
Assists: Matthew Lombardi, Steve Reinprecht
Martin Straka (10)
Assists: Petr Sykora, Fedor Tyutin
Petr Sykora (8)
Assists: Petr Prucha, Martin Straka
Jason Ward (5)
Assists: Ville Nieminen, Michal Rozsival