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Flyers skate past Jagr, Rangers; Atlantic now a dead heat

NEW YORK (AP) -- R.J. Umberger had a puffy, black-and-blue and
bloodied right eye to show for the hit into the boards he took from
Ryan Hollweg.

The Philadelphia Flyers left Madison Square Garden in a
first-place tie with the New York Rangers, courtesy of the same
vicious check.

Mike Knuble scored two of Philadelphia's three power-play goals
in the first period, and the Flyers overcame Jaromir Jagr's hat
trick by beating the Rangers 6-3 Wednesday night.

The key play was Hollweg's check-from-behind on Umberger with
3:17 left in the opening period that gave the Flyers a 5-minute
advantage and caused Hollweg's ejection. Knuble and Michal Handzus
scored 2:29 apart to turn a deficit into a lead before the frame
was done.

"That's one of the worst hits to the head," said Umberger, who
took several stitches above the eye before returning to the game.
"Anytime you go into the boards like that ... it was a heavy
impact."

And so was the damage Philadelphia inflicted on the long power
play.

"You really have to cash in," forward Peter Forsberg said. If
they kill that five minutes off, then all the advantage is on their
side.

"It was definitely a big momentum changer."

The Flyers won for the second straight night, ending New York's
three-game victory streak and catching the Rangers atop the
Atlantic Division. Both teams have 39 wins and 88 points.

Philadelphia, which earned its third consecutive road win over
the Rangers this season has 12 games remaining. New York will play
13 more.

"We have to make sure we're playing our best hockey," Forsberg
said. "Every game is big now. We've just got to make sure we get
better and better."

Jagr, the NHL leader with 49 goals and 104 points, scored twice
in the first period to give the Rangers two leads. His
second-period goal cut the deficit to 4-3 and gave him 15 career
hat tricks, three this season.

Philadelphia was trailing 2-1, but took the lead into the second
period.

Umberger said the NHL should look at the hit that Hollweg
conceded was over the line.

"It's the right call," the center said. "If I waited a
half-more second, maybe I catch him when he is turning fully up
ice, and it's a clean hit. It's a game of reaction. Mine was too
quick."

Simon Gagne turned a Rangers turnover into a goal that made it
4-2. After Jagr made it 4-3, Jeff Carter scored his 18th with 7:10
left to restore Philadelphia's two-goal lead. Sami Kapanen closed
the scoring with an empty-netter for the Flyers.

Robert Esche made 20 saves for the Flyers, who beat New Jersey
on Tuesday and are 4-3 in their last seven games.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 17 shots and failed in his bid to win
each game on the Rangers' four-game homestand.

The teams will play twice more -- once on each club's home ice --
as they fight for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Just 39 seconds after the Flyers got even at 1 on Knuble's 29th,
the Rangers grabbed the lead back on Jagr's second of the game.

"I felt confident and lucky," Jagr said.

But any momentum New York stole was lost 34 seconds later when
Hollweg slammed Umberger in the back and drove him into the
right-wing boards in the New York zone.

The Flyers made New York pay 1:07 into the penalty when Knuble
again got his stick on a shot -- this time from Gagne -- for his 30th
of the season that tied a career best. He earlier tipped in Joni
Pitkanen's drive.

Knuble, formerly of the Rangers, has five two-goal games this
season -- his first with Philadelphia.

"Jagr has been vintage Jagr. They're not an easy team to play
against," Knuble said of the Rangers. "We just kind of held off
the storm here and the power play was huge."

Handzus stung New York when he deflected a drive from Brian
Savage while standing at the right post, landed the rebound on his
stick and shoved it past Lundqvist with only 0.8 seconds left.

Gagne made it 4-2 at 5:48 of the second period, 51 seconds after
Philadelphia killed off its first penalty. Rangers defenseman
Sandis Ozolinsh had a clear path to get the puck out of his zone
but instead swept it right onto the stick of the oncharging Gagne,
who scored his team-leading 41st goal.

Jagr brought more "M-V-P" chants and a cascade of hats from
the stands when he snapped off a shot from the top edge of the left
circle that struck the post on its way past Esche with 3:15
remaining in the middle period.

Game notes
New York holds a 3-1-2 edge in the season series. ...
Knuble scored 30 with Boston during 2002-03 season. ... Rangers D
Darius Kasparaitis sat out with a groin injury. ... Jagr has nine
goals and five assists against the Flyers this season. ... Rangers
LW Martin Rucinsky had three assists after missing three games with
a knee injury.