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Flyers, Rangers battle for series lead at MSG
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will take their deadlocked Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup back to the Big Apple, as the Blueshirts host Sunday's Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
This has been a back-and-forth series so far, with New York taking Game 1 and the clubs taking turns as the winner ever since. The Flyers evened the best- of-seven set at two games apiece with a 2-1 decision in Friday's home Game 4 and goaltender Steve Mason played a big role in the triumph.
Mason recorded the first postseason win of his career by stopping 37-of-38 shots to anchor Philadelphia's close win at Wells Fargo Center.
In was his first start since exiting an April 12 game at Pittsburgh with an upper-body injury, Mason allowed a first-period strike from Dominic Moore and then stayed perfect for the rest of the contest.
The 25-year-old Mason last saw significant postseason action during his rookie season, in the 2009 Western quarters against the Detroit Red Wings, losing all four games for the Columbus Blue Jackets and giving up 17 goals -- six in his last appearance as a starter on April 23, 2009. His next postseason playing opportunity came in relief of Ray Emery in Tuesday's 4-1 home loss to the Rangers.
"It was nice to be busy and get some nice saves under my belt right off the bat. I don't really dwell on what happened five years ago. For me this is a new opportunity, and for me to finally get in there after five games felt really good," Mason admitted.
Matt Read and Jakub Voracek supplied the offense for the Flyers.
Henrik Lundqvist came up with 23 stops for the Rangers, who can steal back momentum on home ice in this afternoon's game.
New York had won nine straight on home ice against the Flyers before Philly recorded a 4-2 win at MSG last Sunday. It was Philadelphia's first road triumph against its division rival since another 4-2 win on Feb. 20, 2011.
"We believe in ourselves here. We've got to just take it day by day, get ready for practice, look at a few things, correct a few things, but have faith," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "Play the way we know we're capable of and we'll be alright and just take care of business here in game five and focus on that one."
The Flyers won Friday despite playing over half the game with only five defensemen following an injury to Nicklas Grossmann in the second period.
Grossmann fell awkwardly while being checked into the end boards by Rangers forward Derek Dorsett with 5:25 gone in the second and suffered a lower-body injury. He left the game and did not return.
Grossmann is not expected to play on Sunday and veteran Hal Gil took the former's place alongside Mark Streit at practice.
Gill, 39, is the veteran of 110 career playoff games, but he only suited up for six games in 2013-14 for the Flyers after signing with the club in December. Gill went pointless over his six outings.
Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday in Philadelphia. If necessary, the Rangers will host a decisive seventh game on Wednesday.
04/27 07:44:12 ET