After not getting the results on Friday night, the New York Rangers came out this afternoon and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. They now possess a 3-2 series lead heading back to Philadelphia on Tuesday night, and have a chance to close out the series once again. It's hard to pinpoint a single Ranger who had a big game, as everyone contributed in some way or another in this win.
Although, it is worth mentioning that J.T. Miller had quite a game in his first ever playoff appearance. He obviously used those strong words from Alain Vigneault as motivation, and corrected his game accordingly. He was hard on the forecheck all afternoon, laid some crushing hits, and picked up an assist on the second goal.
The first period was a little sloppy for both teams, and there wasn't a whole lot of flow to the game in the opening few minutes. There were only a combined 14 shots between both teams, and it was easily one of the periods to forget for both sides. However, the Rangers found a way to break through regardless of the amount of chances, and came away with a first period lead.
Marc Staal cashed in on the odd-man rush off of a sweet dish from Martin St. Louis, and he blew it by Steve Mason on the far side. Mason probably wanted that goal back as soon as it went in, but the Rangers will take anything they can get at this point.
From that point on though, the Rangers went to work during the second period, and took full advantage of their chances. Just eight minutes into the second period Brad Richards gave the Rangers a 2-0 goal lead, as he picked up a loose puck at the side of the net, and flipped it over a sprawled out Mason. You could tell just by the way Richards celebrated the goal that it was a huge goal in terms of confidence.
Following the goal, the Rangers got into a bit of a penalty trouble and were forced to have two huge penalty kills. Luckily enough, the Rangers have actually been pretty strong while a man down, and came up with two more huge kills to swing the momentum back in their favor. It wound up paying off nearing the end of the period as Dominic Moore made Hal Gill look silly, and gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
Moore's goal wound up being on the highlight reel, but not for the actual goal, but rather the celebration. Moore wound up wiping out Brian Boyle in the process of celebrating as he leaped into his arms, and both of them landed on the ground. It was pretty awesome, and we actually have a separate post up about it just in case you missed it.
As big of a goal as it was, the Rangers wound up being on the wrong end of an opportunity, as Vincent Lecavalier cut the lead to 3-1 late in the second. After watching the replay, the puck actually took a deflection off of Kevin Klein's skate, and slipped through Henrik Lundqvist's five hole.
The teams traded chances throughout the third period, but the last three minutes of the game is where most of the action was. With the goalie pulled at the other end, Glaude Giroux bombed home a slap shot from the right face-off dot, and brought the Flyers back within a goal. The Rangers were able to withstand the remaining pressure by the Flyers, and eventually iced the game with an empty net goal coming from Brian Boyle.
With the win, the Rangers now have yet another chance to close out this series on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. As Boyle mentioned after the game, the hardest thing to do is end a team's season, and the Rangers will definitely need their A game if they're going to send the Flyers packing on Tuesday.