Rangers try to continue home dominance of Flyers in Game 2
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers hope to ride their home dominance of the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when the teams get together for Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers posted a 4-1 win in the opener of the best-of-seven series Thursday at Madison Square Garden, giving New York nine straight wins against Philadelphia at home. The club's last loss in this series at MSG was back on Feb. 20, 2011.
The Flyers hope to break their slump in Manhattan on Sunday before the series heads to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4. The Rangers were 0-2 in Philly this season and have lost in their past three trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
New York controlled play for most of Game 1, but the score was tied 1-1 heading into the third period. The Rangers, however, seized a golden opportunity when Philadelphia's Jason Akeson drew blood on a high stick against Carl Hagelin, resulting in a four-minute power play for the home team at 7:35 of the final period.
The Blueshirts scored twice off Akeson's double minor, with Brad Richards scoring at 8:22 and Derek Stepan converting just 47 second later.
Richards posted a goal and two assists while Hagelin, Stepan and Mats Zuccarello all lit the lamp for New York, which also got two assists from late-season addition Martin St. Louis.
Henrik Lundqvist, meanwhile, only needed to stop 14 shots to pick up the win.
"I think we controlled play, didn't give them much," said Richards. "There was no other thought than to keep controlling the puck and keep trying to get it behind them. In a series sometimes having the puck and wearing them out can benefit you later in the game."
With a three-point performance in Game 1, Richards already has tripled his production from last season's postseason when he had one assist in 10 games.
Andrew MacDonald scored the only goal of the game for the Flyers, who played with Ray Emery in goal due to an injury to No. 1 option Steve Mason. Emery will get the call again in Game 2 with Cal Heeter serving as the backup, as Mason isn't ready to return from an upper-body injury suffered April 12 against Pittsburgh.
Emery played well in defeat on Thursday, stopping 32-of-36 shots. The veteran netminder fell to 20-16 in his postseason career.
"We've got to win one in here and we'd like to have that one but we'll be refocused for the next one," said Emery. "We're confident that if we play the way that we can play we can take them."
Philadelphia head coach Craig Berube is looking for a much better effort from his top line in Game 2, as Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek combined for just two shots in the loss. Hartnell registered both shots and also assisted on MacDonald's goal
"They didn't produce," Berube said. "They didn't shoot pucks, they didn't get shots on net, didn't get an attack."
Giroux, who finished third in the NHL with 86 points this season, only had two assists in four regular-season games against the Rangers in 2013-14.
This series marks the first time these rivals are meeting in the playoffs since the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Flyers won in five games. Philadelphia has won six of the 10 playoff series against the Rangers, including three straight.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday in Philadelphia, with the four meeting set for Friday.
04/20 10:13:23 ET