Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored 47 seconds apart on an extended third period power play, helping the New York Rangers defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 in game 1 of their First Round Eastern Conference Series on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
With the game tied 1-1 and time ticking down in the third period, Flyers’ youngster Jason Akeson—who was playing in his first career playoff game—made a mistake that he won’t forget for the rest of his career.
Akeson got caught hi sticking Rangers’ forward Carl Hagelin at the 7:35 mark of the period, leading to a four-minute Rangers’ power play.
Brad Richards broke the 1-1 tie at the 8:22 mark of the period before Stepan added to the lead on the same power play 47 seconds later.
After some good passing from the Rangers, Martin St. Louis blasted a shot that Emery turned away. Richards rifled the rebound past Ray Emery, giving the Rangers the 2-1 lead.
Richards was also the man most responsible for the second Rangers’ goal. After taking a pass from St.Louis, Richards spotted Stepan down low.
Stepan had all day to rifle a shot into an empty net, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
Hagelin also scored for the Rangers, who have now won nine straight games (including the regular season) against Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden.
Andrew MacDonald’s opening goal was the only one scored by the Flyers, who only mustered 15 shots on goal.
Ray Emery excelled in goal for the Flyers, making 32 saves in a game in which his team was outshot 36-15.
The Rangers controlled the first period, but it was the Flyers who struck first.
Scott Hartnell created the goal with a fantastic hitting play that forced a Rangers’ turnover. Hartnell buried elite Rangers’ defenseman Ryan McDonagh behind the net before stealing the puck from him and finding Andrew MacDonald at the point.
The recently extended MacDonald blasted a shot from the blueline that went off the stick of Martin St. Louis and got past Henrik Lundqvist, giving Philly a 1-0 lead at the 7:28 mark of the frame.
It was the Flyers’ first shot of the game and was the first ever playoff goal for MacDonald, who was recently given a six-year extension by the team.
The Rangers dominated the period, outshooting the Flyers 14-6, and they finally got awarded for their efforts just past the midway mark of the frame.
After Braydon Coburn lost a puck battle behind the net, the puck got centered to Zuccarello, who ripped a shot that Emery denied. Zuccarello followed up on his own rebound, losing Sean Couturier, and walking in all alone on Emery.
Zuccarello deked to the backhand and slid the puck through the five-hole of a sliding Ray Emery.
The Rangers and Flyers were tied 1-1 after one period of play.
The second period saw no goals, but the Rangers once again had the better chances, outshooting the Flyers 9-8.
Derick Brassard had arguably the best Rangers’ chance in the period. Brassard got the puck in the slot before rifling a shot off the post to Emery’s right.
The Flyers best chance came on a 3-on-2. It was the Flyers third line that had the opportunity. Sean Couturier fired a long cross-ice pass over to Matt Read, who was robbed by a sprawling Lundqvist, keeping the game tied 1-1.
- Jason Akeson, Michael Raffl, and Luke Schenn all played in their first NHL playoff games
- With the Emery start, the Flyers have now had six different goalies start a playoff game for them since 2009
- Andrew MacDonald’s goal was his first as a Flyer
- Giroux only played 4:39 in the first period. He was brutally cross-checked by Ryan McDonagh after the Flyers’ goal in the first period. He didn’t appear to suffer an injury on the play
- The Flyers top line was held quiet, as Giroux, Hartnell, and Voracek combined for only two shots on goal (both from Hartnell)
- Brad Richards—who has 43 points in 45 career games vs. Philly—had a goal and two assists during that explosive third period for the Rangers
- Steve Mason is in New York and should be ready to start game 2
- During their nine-game losing streak to New York at MSG, the Flyers have been outscored 35-10
Tickets for Game 3 against the Rangers start at $86.