Rangers Vs. Flyers Game 4: We're All Tied Up At 2-2
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 tonight and evened up the series at 2-2 heading back to New York.
Well, the New York Rangers had a huge opportunity to take a strangle hold on this series, but failed to do so once again. Steve Mason appeared in his first game back for the Flyers, and was spectacular, turning away 37 of the 38 shots that he faced. The Rangers didn't play particularly bad in this game, but as it's been for throughout the series, they haven't really played at their highest level just yet. Their power play also hit a snag tonight, and failed them numerous times when they had opportunities to get back into the game.
Henrik Lundqvist played great, and made quite a few key saves to keep the Rangers within a goal for the second half of the game. Things started off pretty quick tonight for the Rangers as Dominic Moore took a questionable hooking penalty on Zac Rinaldo. Somehow, Rinaldo's feet came out from under him when Moore went in to lift his stick and steal the puck. Either way, the Rangers were faced with a big penalty kill earlier on, and they delivered.
Funny enough, just like in game 3, the Rangers actually turned it into a positive shortly after the penalty expired. Moore came right out of the box, got a shot on net, and slam dunked his own rebound to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead. It was just a great play by Moore to stick with the puck on the rebound, and he caught Mason sleeping as he came behind the net for the wrap around.
Things were actually looking good for a majority of the first period, as the Rangers were dictating the play entirely, and gave the Flyers zero room to move. Again, the way it's gone this season, as much as the Rangers dominated the game, they found a way to shoot themselves in the foot. Just four minutes after Moore put the Rangers up, Matt Read got one right back to even the score up at one.
Jason Akeson's initial shot wound up taking a bounce off of Kevin Klein's skate, and allowed it to quickly bounce back in front of the net off of the end boards. John Moore was in the process of transitioning over to Sean Couturier as he was more of a threat, which left Matt Read wide open at the side of the crease. He made no mistake, and chipped it over Lundqvist to pull the Flyers back even.
There wasn't too much that could have been done to stop that goal, as it was a crazy bounce off of the back boards, and no one really anticipated it. From the first period on, the Flyers really stepped it into a higher gear, and turned the tide on the Rangers. It wound up paying off halfway through the second period, as the Flyers grabbed their first lead of the evening. With three guys caught up high on the penalty kill, Brayden Schenn made a great pass to the wide open Jakub Voracek in front. Voracek wound up putting a beautiful deflection on the shot in front, and tucked it just underneath the crossbar.
The Rangers penalty killing had been pretty superb up until that little mistake, and at the end of the day, it wound up costing them. In the closing minutes of the second period, the Rangers had a few power play opportunities of their own, but unfortunately they wound up going unanswered. Just as they did in game 2, the Flyers went into a full defensive stand in the third period, and clogged up the neutral zone with four guys sitting back. It was tough for the Rangers to break through, and they really weren't able to generate much in the final frame.
Although, with the goalie pulled, the Rangers had a few golden opportunities to knot the game up, but Steve Mason was spectacular all night long. As frustrating as that loss was, it's still not the end of the world. The Rangers still possess home ice, and two of the next three games will be at Madison Square Garden. If the Rangers are truly serious about taking this series, they need to take it to that next level, and really start to put pressure on the Flyers.
Luckily for us, we'll only have one day in between to forget about this loss, as both teams will be back on the ice Sunday afternoon at MSG. Hopefully we'll get better results.