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(Thursday, April 17th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Philadelphia 1
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist stopped 14 shots and the New York Rangers used a strong third period to take a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
The Rangers got a pair of power-play goals off a Jason Akeson double-minor in the third period, and used a smothering defense to limit the Flyers' chances and take a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Game 2 will take place on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Richards posted a goal and two assists while Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin all lit the lamp for New York, which got two assists from late-season addition Martin St. Louis.
"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."
This was New York's first postseason win at Madison Square Garden against Philadelphia since Apr. 12, 1987, in Game 4 of the Patrick Division Semifinals.
Philadelphia had to play the game with Ray Emery in goal, as starter Steve Mason suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday's game against Pittsburgh and was held out of the opener.
Appearing the playoffs for the first time since 2011 with Anaheim, Emery turned away 22-of-23 shots in the first two periods, but then let up three goals on 13 shots in the third.
"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."
Andrew MacDonald scored the only goal of the game for the Flyers, who are back in the playoffs after missing out last season.
Philadelphia was awarded a power play with the game still tied at 1-1 early in the third period, but failed to get a shot through and the Rangers were given four minutes of power play time later on when Akeson was whistled for a double-minor when he drew blood on a high stick to Hagelin.
The Rangers scored the go-ahead goal at 8:22. Rick Nash sent a pass from the left side of the net to the front, where St. Louis got off a shot that was blocked in front but the puck came to the right circle and Richards buried it for a 2-1 lead.
Going right back to work, the same unit then made it a 3-1 game when Stepan finished off a nice passing play with a one-timer from the low left side at 9:09.
Shortly after Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen rang a shot off the right goalpost, the Rangers went back the other way. Richards' shot from the right circle got stopped, but Hagelin slammed home the rebound for a three-goal margin with 4:08 to play.
Philadelphia was unable to mount any sort of pressure the rest of the way, as the team took two penalties over the final three minutes and managed just one shot on net for the entire third period.
The Flyers didn't get their first shot of the game until 7:28 of the first period, but they made it count to take a 1-0 lead.
Scott Hartnell was putting pressure on Ryan McDonagh behind the New York net and forced a turnover. Taking the puck to the right corner, Hartnell fired the puck to the left point, where MacDonald blasted a shot past Lundqvist for his first career playoff goal.
New York, though, tied the game at 10:53 of the first as Zuccarello grabbed a loose puck in the slot that Emery stopped, but he picked up the rebound down low and backhanded it in.
There were no goals in the second period but ample chances, with the first one coming about 5 1/2 minutes in as New York's Derick Brassard hit the left post with a shot from the right circle.
The Flyers broke out on a 3-on-1 with just under nine minutes to play in the second, but Lundqvist bailed his team out by making a great diving save on a Matt Read chance.
Emery stopped a pair of chances from Brian Boyle down low with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the second. He finished the frame with nine stops, while Lundqvist turned aside eight.
This is the first time these rivals are meeting in the playoffs since the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Flyers won in five games ... The Flyers have won six of the 10 playoff series against the Rangers, including three straight ... The home team won all four games in the regular season ... New York went 2-for-6 on the power play while Philly failed on its only chance ... New York has now won nine in a row against Philadelphia at home, with its last loss in this series at Madison Square Garden coming on Feb. 20, 2011.
04/17 23:43:28 ET