NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers continued their mastery of the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon.
Center Derick Brassard scored twice as the Rangers beat the Flyers at home for the 10th straight time in a lopsided 5-2 victory.
The score was tied 2-2 entering the third period, but the Rangers' territorial advantage translated into three third-period goals that broke the game open.
The Rangers swept the home-and-home series against the reeling Flyers, who have lost eight of nine and haven't won at MSG since Feb. 20, 2011.
The Rangers have won four of five and two straight overall, but goaltender Henrik Lundqvist spoke frankly about the victories with a difficult opponent in Tampa Bay coming to MSG on Monday.
"I think we have to prove it Monday; it's a big game," said Lundqvist, who made just 20 saves while Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was called upon to stop 30 shots. "Playing Tampa and playing Philly is two different games. ... Tampa, they are rolling right now so I think they are a bigger challenge."
There's nothing untrue in that statement from Lundqvist -- the Lightning are 15-6-2 and have won four of six, which includes two wins against the Rangers. The Flyers, meanwhile, are 1-7-1 in their past nine games and are closer to 30th in the league standings (five points) than they are to a wild-card spot in the East (six points).
Flyers coach Craig Berube -- and every player who spoke after this loss -- attributed the team's poor play this season to a lack of confidence that is seeping into everything they do on the ice.
"It's mental -- I truly believe that," Berube said. "It's confidence for sure. I think the chemistry has gone the other way for sure. We need to get that back on the ice."
As badly as the Flyers were outplayed over the first 40 minutes, the game was still tied entering the third period.
Brassard gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 2:50 of the first period but the Flyers answered with goals by defenseman Nicklas Grosssman and right winger Jakub Voracek to grab a 2-1 lead.
But less than three minutes after Voracek scored, a lapse in coverage allowed Rangers right winger Jesper Fast to tie the score at 2-2 midway through the second period with his first career NHL goal.
One of the players who had a lapse on that shift was left winger Vincent Lecavalier, who played a season-low 5:56 on nine shifts.
Berube did not mince words when asked about the 34-year-old's play over the past two games, saying: "He needs to work harder and he needs to be a better player and he needs to play with more structure and he needs to dig in more."
The Rangers outshot the Flyers 29-11 over the first two periods but needed just six shots in the third period to score the game's final three goals.
Brassard scored at 3:06 off a perfectly executed 3-on-2 rush that saw left winger Kevin Hayes hit Brassard with a cross-ice pass as right winger Lee Stempniak drove the net to create a passing lane.
Left winger J.T. Miller torched Flyers defenseman Mark Streit for a wraparound goal less than seven minutes later that made it 4-2 and Stempniak added an empty-net goal with 23.9 seconds remaining to seal the win.
The Rangers' fourth line of Fast, Miller and center Dominic Moore contributed two goals, two assists and six shots on net.
"They played a real strong game," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "In the second period for eight or nine minutes, we lost momentum. That line came back, scored the tying goal. After that, I really thought we had momentum from the end of the second period."
"It was awesome," Miller said of Fast's first NHL goal. "I spent a lot of time with him the past few years and played with him a lot in Hartford (in the AHL) and every once in a while here. It's really great to see. It was just a matter of time."