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Blizzard of Rangers' Goals Has Flyers Replacing Snow With Hextall

May 20, 1997|HELENE ELLIOTT

NEW YORK — As expected, Ron Hextall will replace Garth Snow in goal for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Madison Square Garden, where Hextall has long been the target of jeers and derisive chants of "Hexxx-tawwl."

The change came after Snow gave up five goals on 10 shots Sunday against the New York Rangers. Hextall started one other playoff game this spring, the clincher of the Flyers' second-round series against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I like playing at the Garden," said Hextall, 33, who led the Flyers to playoff victories over the Rangers in 1987 and 1995 but lost to them while a member of the New York Islanders in 1994. "The fans are into it. It's a fun place to play."

While the Flyer goaltending has become a potential problem, the Ranger goaltending remains stable in the hands of Mike Richter. He hasn't been as spectacular as he was against the New Jersey Devils, whom he allowed only four goals in five games, but he's facing an offense that's more varied and dangerous.

"We have to be aware of their [defensemen] coming in," Richter said, referring to Paul Coffey and Janne Niinimaa, who scored in the first two games. "They're more aggressive on the forecheck and create problems down low, but that also creates opportunities for us offensively.

"We've allowed more goals than we wanted to, but we've also found ways to score and that was a little bit of a problem in the first two rounds."

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