Rangers down Flyers to regain series lead
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brad Richards and Dominic Moore each netted second-period goals to help the New York Rangers take back the upper hand in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers via a 4-2 Game 5 triumph Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Moore added an assist on Brian Boyle's empty-net score in the final seconds that sealed the victory and put the Flyers on the brink of elimination when the series returns to Philadelphia for Tuesday's Game 6.
Marc Staal also had a goal and Henrik Lundqvist came up with 24 saves for New York, which bounced back from a 2-1 Game 4 loss in which Flyers netminder Steve Mason turned in a stellar 37-save effort.
"I thought we played a really good game, good energy," said Lundqvist. "Looking back at the game in Philly [on Friday], we did a lot of good things as well. The difference is today we scored a couple goals and that brings a lot of confidence to the group. It's easy to play patient and not overdo a lot of things."
Mason managed just 18 stops in this one, however, and Philadelphia wasn't able to maintain its momentum from Friday's win despite captain Claude Giroux and veteran Vincent Lecavalier recording their first goals of the these playoffs.
"This series is definitely not over," Mason said. "We're looking forward to going home and having a big game there and bringing it back here for Game 7."
The Flyers had their fate sealed after falling behind 3-0 late in the second period while failing on their first four power-play opportunities, with Staal's left-circle wrister on a transition rush nearly 12 minutes into the contest getting between the glove and pad of a slow-reacting Mason to place the Orange and Black at an early deficit.
New York had an apparent power-play goal by Martin St. Louis disallowed early in the second period, as referees stopped the action before he poked in a loose puck that had trickled behind Mason. However, the Rangers had two other scores count later in the stanza to build a comfortable lead.
Carl Hagelin had a wraparound try blocked in front with around eight minutes elapsed in the middle session, but J.T. Miller slid the rebound across the crease for Richards to put into an open left side to make it a two-score game.
Moore extended the margin with 3:40 left in the frame, stealing a puck that went through the legs of Flyers defenseman Hal Gill and beating Mason in all alone for his second tally of the series.
Philadelphia did capitalize on its final man-advantage situation to close the gap, as Lecavalier's long one-timer on a 5-on-4 deflected off the Rangers' Kevin Klein and got through Lundqvist's pads just 32.6 seconds prior to the second intermission.
The Flyers pulled Mason early and inched closer with time winding down in regulation, with Giroux breaking out of his scoring slump by sending a drive from the left boards that made its way in through traffic with 1:29 to play.
Mason was pulled again shortly afterward, but the Flyers couldn't get another shot on Lundqvist before Moore and Boyle ended any comeback hopes. Moore beat Philadelphia blueliner Kimmo Timonen to a puck dumped behind the vacated net, then sent a backhand feed to Boyle for an easy tap-in with only 15 seconds remaining.
"It's frustrating," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said of the loss. "You're always playing catch-up. You make it a lot harder on yourself. You're skating that much harder to get on pucks, to create turnovers, to get chances, instead of playing comfortable. It's a lot easier when you've got a lead."
Gill, who had played in just six games during the regular season, was inserted into the lineup with Nicklas Grossmann injuring his right knee in Game 4 ... Miller, New York's first-round pick in the 2011 draft, was making his playoff debut ... The Rangers have won six of their last nine postseason series that were tied at 2-2, while the Flyers are 8-17 all-time in the playoffs when dropping Game 5 ... Philadelphia has now lost in 10 of its last 11 visits to Madison Square Garden.
04/27 18:13:20 ET