New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers - 4/27/14
Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-10) at New York Rangers (45-31-6)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Madison Square Garden)
The Line: New York Rangers -151 / Philadelphia Flyers +137 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
Friday night's contest between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers was a perfect of how failing to capitalize on momentum can cost you a playoff game.
The Rangers had a perfect game plan early on, allowing a desperate Flyers club to put themselves out of position in an effort to create offense in what felt like a must win game. Philadelphia was playing quick, but their decision making wasn't great. The Flyers defense was trying to jump into the play but there were times they were doing so before making an adequate pass up the ice. New York was able to counter over and over and generate high quality scoring chances during this stretch, but ultimately they were unable to really take control. Dominic Moore converted after recovering his own rebound from Steve Mason and tucking it in as he wrapped around the net. New York would outshoot the Flyers 16-6 over the first 20 minutes, but Mason was strong after allowing an early goal. Henrik Lundqvist wasn't tested nearly as much on the other end of the ice, but he allowed an extremely soft goal that evened the score at 1-1.
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Philadelphia's Jason Akeson skated into the zone to the right of Lundqvist and shot a puck that was clearly going five feet wide of the net. Lundqvist went all the way over to the right post, and after the puck deflected off the end boards back over to his left he was unable to get back in position and stop a shot from Matt Read. Lundqvist was strong the rest of the night but that was a deflating goal for a club that played so well in the first period on the road and yet only found themselves in a tie game heading to the first intermission. Philadelphia didn't generate much at all, totaling just 25 shots for the hockey game, but they took advantage of a power play opportunity in the second period when Jakub Voracek redirected a pass from Brayden Schenn top shelf to give Philadelphia the lead for good. That power play goal was the difference in the game and the Flyers did a much better job killing penalties in this one. New York had four chances with the man advantage and failed all four times.
The power play has been better this season under Alain Vigneault but it has been hot and cold in this series. The Rangers have the edge on home ice despite Philadelphia having broken their losing streak at Madison Square Garden, and New York knows they don't want to go back to Philadelphia down 3-2 in this series in a game they'd have to win. Mason was clearly a difference maker in this game and he has the ability to be one on Sunday as well. Lundqvist can't be out played for the second game in a row, especially one of this magnitude, with his team on home ice. Lundqvist usually bounces back well and plays well in games like this. Look for the Rangers to take care of business.