Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-10) at New York Rangers (45-31-6)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 17, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Rangers -155 / Philadelphia Flyers +141 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Rangers and Flyers do battle in New York to kick off their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series at Madison Square Garden.
The Philadelphia Flyers will look to make amends for missing the postseason last year as they take on the New York Rangers in the opening round in what should be the most hostile series of the first section. The Flyers have been up and down this season but did enough to sneak in to the three seed in the Metropolitan division finishing two points back of the Rangers who claimed the all important home ice advantage. Philly has seemingly solved their goaltending woes that have plagued them for years as former Columbus Blue Jackets goalie and Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason has found a home wearing orange and black and will be the workhorse for the Flyers in these playoffs. Claude Giroux is the undisputed leader of this team and he can score with the league’s best but the Flyers’ secondary scoring will have to play a part as New York possesses the fourth stingiest defensive unit among playoff teams and have one of the better goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist. Philly needs to steal a game on the road in order to utilize their raucous home ice and that could come in game one.
The Rangers have quietly pieced together an impressive season and while they fall short of the likes of Boston and Pittsburgh in terms of Eastern Conference dominance they actually possessed the best road record in the league this season which is crucial in the playoffs. New York opens up at home in what should be an electric crowd at MSG and with the Knicks missing out on the playoffs I imagine the focus on Broadway will turn to hockey which can only help the Blue Shirts as they need the support. The Rangers have a huge advantage in the crease and on the blue line in this series as they have a solid defensive unit led by Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal and can also go stride for stride with the Flyers offensively. This series to a lot of people is a toss up but looking from top to bottom I think New York is the more complete team and they’re definitely buying into Alain Vigneault’s system and if Martin St. Louis can get going than watch out. I think New York takes game one in what should be relatively close but nonetheless they open the series with a win.