The Philadelphia Flyers have come up against a red-hot goaltender. They gave him their best shot tonight, and they barely were able to beat him.
The Flyers fired the puck at New York Rangers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck 44 times. They got it past him only twice, but that was enough for a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-five Patrick Division semifinal series, tying it at one game each. The series moves to New York for Games 3 and 4.
"We played them hard. They know we're for real," said Vanbiesbrouck, who had stopped 31 of 33 shots in Wednesday's 6-2 upset of the Flyers in Game 1.
"They wanted to generate a lot of offense. They wanted me to make mistakes. I made two; that was enough."
Philadelphia's Rich Sutter and Brad McCrimmon were responsible for the mistakes and earned their own goalie, Bob Froese, his first NHL playoff victory.
"It's fortunate we won," Froese said. "We needed the game so bad."
Froese, now 1-4 in NHL postseason play, wasn't taxed too much -- the Flyers tightened up after Wednesday's sloppy game and allowed New York only 12 shots on goal.
Froese, who gave up six goals on 22 shots in Game 1, was practically on vacation tonight. He had to stop only three shots in each of the first and third periods, and in the second, when the Rangers scored their only goal, he was challenged by six.
Meanwhile, the Flyers peppered Vanbiesbrouck with shots -- 21 of them in the first period. They were able to get two past him in a 16-second spurt midway through the period.
At 10:54, Rich Sutter took a pass from his twin brother Ron and swept the puck under Vanbiesbrouck as the goalie fell on his stomach. Then, at 11:10, defenseman McCrimmon managed to send a shot from the right point under Vanbiesbrouck's leg for a 2-0 lead. Rick Tocchet and Tim Kerr got the assists.
Early in the period, the Rangers were short two men for 59 seconds after Bob Brooke went off for interference at 3:15 and Mark Osborne joined him in the penalty box at 4:16 for hooking Mark Howe. But the Flyers kept missing the net, and the Rangers killed off the five-on-three advantage, as they had done successfully for nearly two minutes the night before.
In the second period, the Rangers had a five-on-three advantage of their own, and they quickly converted it into the period's only goal. Pierre Larouche took a pass from Reijo Ruotsalainen and sent it under Froese at the 49-second mark.
*Whalers 4, Nordiques 1: Paul MacDermid scored twice and goalie Mike Liut made 26 saves in Quebec as Hartford took a 2-0 lead over the Adams Division champions in their best-of-five playoff series.
*Canadiens 3, Bruins 2: Rookie Claude Lemieux scored his second power-play goal with 2:27 remaining in Montreal, giving the Canadiens a 2-0 advantage in the Adams Division series.
*North Stars 6, Blues 2: Dennis Maruk had two goals and two assists and Brian Bellows scored a pair of goals in Bloomington, Minn., to help the North Stars even the Norris Division series at one game apiece.
*Maple Leafs 6, Blackhawks 4: Walt Poddubny's tie-breaking goal with 56 seconds left gave visiting Toronto a 2-0 lead in the Norris Division series despite a four-goal night by Chicago's Denis Savard.
*Oilers 5, Canucks 1: Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky scored in the opening 99 seconds in Edmonton as the Oilers took a 2-0 lead in the Smythe Division series.
Flames 6, Jets 4: In Calgary, rookie goaltender Mike Vernon had 33 saves and extended his unbeaten streak to 10 games, helping the Flames take a 2-0 lead in the Smythe Division semifinal series.