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Rangers score three in third, top Flyers in opener, 4-1

New York Rangers' Derick Brassard, left, and Anton Stralman, right, celebrate with Mats Zuccarello after Zuccarello scored a goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Rangers' Derick Brassard, left, and Anton Stralman, right, celebrate with Mats Zuccarello after Zuccarello scored a goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart in the third period, and the New York Rangers beat Philadelphia, 4-1, in the playoff opener last night to stretch their home-winning streak over the rival Flyers to nine games.

The teams were locked in a 1-1 tie when Jason Akeson – playing in just his third career NHL game – was given a double high-sticking penalty for clipping Rangers forward Carl Hagelin with 7:35 remaining.

New York quickly took advantage.

Richards gave the Rangers their first lead of the night when a rebound of Martin St. Louis’s shot came to him, and he fired it in from the right circle, punctuating the moment with an emphatic fist pump at 8:22.

Richards and St. Louis hooked up again to help set up Stepan’s insurance goal. New York worked the puck around the Philadelphia end, and Richards faked a drive. He instead sent a hard pass to Stepan for a shot into the open left side.

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