Hayes, Sanheim lead Flyers past Rangers 5-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia center Kevin Hayes and coach Alain Vigneault shared a smile during a morning meeting in anticipation of playing against their former team for the first time. They had even more reason to smile afterward.
Hayes scored a pair of goals to lead Vigneault and the Flyers to their fourth straight victory, 5-1 over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Hayes played 361 games over five seasons for the Rangers before being dealt to Winnipeg at the trade deadline last season. The Flyers acquired Hayes in June for a fifth-round pick and then signed the center to a seven-year, $50 million deal.
“He’s been wound up for this game for a while,” Vigneault said. “He’s a very emotional young man and scored two big goals for us.”
Vigneault led the Rangers to a 226-147-37 mark, four postseason appearances and the 2014 Stanley Cup Final in five seasons at the helm in New York before being fired on April 7, 2018. His tenure included Hayes’ first four seasons.
“I’m sure it meant more to Kevin,” Vigneault said of the matchup.
Hayes put the Flyers ahead 2-1 with 12:29 left when he snapped a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist’s glove side. His second of the night came with 2:45 left when he deked from his backhand to his forehand from close range to beat Lundqvist.
“Doesn’t really matter personally,” Hayes said. “It’s nice to get goals, but the main goal was to get two points tonight. … It means a little bit more, nothing too serious. It was a fun game.”
Jesper Fast scored for New York, which has dropped four of five. The Rangers surrendered the final five goals, including four in the last 12:29.
“We sell out too much for offense and it’s killing us,” Rangers coach David Quinn said.
Quinn also was miffed with New York’s continued ineptitude on the man advantage. The Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play, including failing to convert during a 5-on-3 that lasted more than a minute in the first period, and they haven’t connected in their last 18 chances.
“It’s a team-wide problem,” Quinn said. “Every time we get it, we slow it down and look to make a pretty play.”
He said changes to the power play would be forthcoming.
Travis Sanheim also scored two goals and added an assist and Nicolas Aube-Kubel netted his first career goal for Philadelphia, which improved to 13-2-4 at home. The Flyers entered tied with the Islanders for best home winning percentage.
Sanheim notched his second to make it a two-goal contest with just over four minutes remaining. Travis Konecny fanned on Sean Couturier’s pass and the puck found its way to a wide-open Sanheim, who shot into the vacated net.
The Rangers were playing the second game of a back-to-back after beating Anaheim 5-1 on Sunday in New York. Lundqvist stopped 19 of 20 shots against the Ducks and made 25 saves against the Flyers but gave up four goals in the final 12:29. The veteran made several excellent saves in the first two periods and a ten-bell stop with his left pad and glove on Morgan Frost’s one-timer with 10:36 left in the second.
The Flyers finally beat Lundqvist with 1.7 seconds left in the second when Sanheim’s wrist shot from the slot went off Lundqvist’s stick and through his legs.
“Momentum, energy-wise, that gave us a boost,” Vigneault said.
Fast got the Rangers on the board first with a short-handed tally, his sixth of the season, 6:44 into the second.
NOTES: Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl (finger) missed his seventh straight contest and Scott Laughton (groin) sat for the fourth consecutive game. … This was the first of four meetings between the teams. They next will play a home-and-home, Feb. 28 in Philadelphia and March 1 in New York, before finishing up April 1 at New York. … Rangers RW Kaapo Kakko (lower body) missed his second straight game. … James van Riemsdyk and Justin Braun each had a pair of assists.
Rangers: Host Carolina on Friday.
Flyers: Begin a six-game trip on Friday at San Jose.
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