Jaromir Jagr scored his NHL-leading 41st and 42d goals and had an assist to lead the New York Rangers to their seventh straight victory, 6-1, over the Flyers last night in Philadelphia.
The Atlantic Division-leading Rangers have a 4-point lead over the Flyers. Kevin Weekes made 36 saves for New York, which last won seven straight early in the 1993-94 season en route to its most recent Stanley Cup title. The Rangers are first in their division this late in the season for the first time since 1995-96.
The Rangers, 3-0-2 against Philadelphia this season, didn't need a lot of shots to beat the Flyers. They scored three goals -- two on the power play -- in a 1:58 span early in the second period and had four goals in a 6:46 span. They scored four goals on six-power play opportunities while the Flyers went 1 for 9.
Jagr, the NHL leader with 91 points, injured his groin in the second period of the bronze medal game in the Olympics and was hit there again last night in the third period. He decided to rest with the Rangers comfortably ahead.
Jagr scored two power-play goals to open the second period and give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. Jagr's second goal gave him 1,400 career points.
Jagr's second goal also knocked out Flyers goalie Robert Esche, who gave up three goals on only seven shots. Coach Ken Hitchcock put in rookie Antero Niittymaki, the tournament MVP of the Olympics after he led Finland to the silver medal. Hitchcock has tried to defuse the situation between his two Olympic goalies by calling the starting job a competition, not a controversy. Esche was a backup for Team USA.
While the Flyers could truly have a controversy now, Niittymaki didn't immediately help his case when only 27 seconds in he surrendered Blair Betts's fifth goal and the Rangers' third in the 1:58 span.
Flames 3, Blues 1 -- Captain Jarome Iginla scored twice and had a spirited fight as host Calgary moved into first place in the Northwest Division, a point ahead of Colorado.
In between his goals, Iginla fought Blues defenseman Barret Jackman.
Jackman and Iginla were both in the penalty box after trying to fight late in the second period. When those penalties ended, they met at center ice, took their helmets off, and had a spirited bout.
Canadiens 1, Panthers 0 -- Alexei Kovalev scored with 5:49 left in the third period and Cristobal Huet made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season to lift visiting Montreal. Montreal native Roberto Luongo stopped 26 shots for the Panthers.
The Canadiens, eighth in the Eastern Conference, improved to 6-3-2 in their last 11 games. They haven't lost in regulation in their past seven, going 5-0-2.
Senators 7, Capitals 1 -- Rookie defenseman Andrej Meszaros had three assists, Ray Emery made 30 saves, and host Ottawa scored five special-teams goals (two shorthanded) in routing Washington.
Washington rookie sensation Alex Ovechkin scored his 38th goal, with 5:07 remaining in the third, to spoil Emery's shutout bid.
Islanders 3, Devils 2 -- Trent Hunter smacked a shot between Martin Brodeur's pads in a shootout, denying the Canadian Olympian his 30th victory and lifting the host Islanders over the Devils. Brodeur, who beat Philadelphia in a shootout Wednesday, is trying to become the first player to have 30 wins in 10 straight seasons.
Miroslav Satan, who was with his wife in Buffalo earlier in the day when she gave birth to a boy, also scored against Brodeur in the shootout.
Coyotes 6, Stars 2 -- Geoff Sanderson and Shane Doan each scored twice and host Phoenix snapped a four-game losing streak in its return from the Olympic break.
Avalanche 1, Blue Jackets 0 -- David Aebischer made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season and 13th overall, and Brent Clark scored the lone goal to lift host Colorado. Aebischer made several spectacular saves to improve to 7-0-0 against the Blue Jackets.
Predators 3, Canucks 1 -- Greg Johnson broke a tie with a shorthanded goal 45 seconds into the third period, and Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves to spark host Nashville. The Predators snapped a six-game winless skid against the Canucks.
Kings 3, Wild 2 -- Lubomir Visnovsky scored with 2:36 left in the third period to lift host Los Angeles. Craig Conroy had two assists for the Kings, who have won three in a row after losing seven straight.