Anders Hedberg scored two goals and added an assist in New York's three-goal first period last night in Philadelphia as the New York Rangers upset the Flyers, 5-3, in the opener of their NHL Stanley Cup playoff series.
The early scoring of Hedberg and the steady goaltending of Ed Mio gave the Rangers, who finished 26 points behind the Patrick Division champion Flyers during the regular season, the edge in the best-of-five series with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Hedberg, who had 25 goals during the season, began his first-period show at 6:06 when he followed the rebound of his own shot, skated back to the right wing circle and uncorked a 25-foot shot through a screen that beat Philadelphia goalie Pelle Lindbergh to the short side.
The Rangers took only seven seconds to score their next goal after the Flyers' Brad McCrimmon was sent off for interference. Lindbergh made the initial save on Reijo Ruotsalainen's slap shot from the point but Hedberg got the rebound out to Mark Pavelich, who lifted a 10-footer over the prone Lindbergh at 15:05.
New York took only 10 seconds to score on its next power play opportunity. Again, a Ruotsalainen shot was stopped by Lindbergh but Hedberg poked the rebound in at 18:21.
Mio, who won only five of 20 road games this season, stopped 39 Philadelphia shots and allowed goals by Ron Flockhart in the second period and Dave Poulin and Bill Barber in the third.
Rookie Mike Backman and Ed Johnstone scored second-period goals for the Rangers.