Mason not ready, will miss Game 2
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Flyers vs. Rangers
(NYR lead series 1-0)
Game 1 at NYR: 4-1 Rangers
Game 2 at NYR: Sun., 12 p.m., NBC
Game 3 at PHI: Tues., April 22, 8 p.m., CSN
Game 4 at PHI: Fri., April 25, 7 p.m., CSN
*Game 5 at NYR: Sun., April 27, 12 p.m., NBC
*Game 6 at PHI: Tues., April 29, TBA, CSN
*Game 7 at NYR: Wed., April 30, TBA, CSN
Rangers lead series 1-0
After collapsing in the final period of their playoff opener, the Flyers will look to salvage a split in New York when they take on the Rangers Sunday afternoon in Game 2.
Puck drop is set for 12 p.m. (NBC) at Madison Square Garden.
Let's take a closer look at the matchup:
1. Razor Ray
Steve Mason still isn't feeling well enough to play, so Ray Emery will start a second consecutive game between the pipes for the Flyers.
Mason, who is sidelined with what the Flyers are calling an upper-body injury, said he's targeting Tuesday -- Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center, for his return (see story). He wore down toward the end of Saturday's practice but was in good spirits after the session. The 25-year-old is feeling better, it's now just a matter of him feeling 100 percent.
In the meantime, the Flyers will continue to rely on Emery. The veteran netminder put up a strong performance in Game 1, although his numbers may not indicate that. He gave the Flyers a chance to win and wasn't at all a liability.
“I thought he looked good,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said Saturday . “He looked sharp. He looked sharp again at practice. Those third-period goals [in Game 1] were power-play goals that there’s not much you can do on them, in my opinion. We have to do a better job.”
No fingers should be pointed at Emery for Thursday's 4-1 loss. The Flyers entered the third tied at 1-1 but left their goalie out to dry during a four-minute penalty kill in the final frame. If Emery can carry over his play into Game 2, the Flyers will have a great chance to even up the series.
2. On the offensive
One shot. That's all the Flyers could muster on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the third period of Thursday's loss.
The Flyers couldn't get anything going offensively the whole game really. They finished with just 15 shots on net and won only one offensive-zone faceoff the entire game. That simply can't happen.
If the Flyers want to avoid an 0-2 deficit, they'll have to pick up the pace and establish a strong forecheck early Sunday. Actually, they need to do exactly what Scott Hartnell did on the Flyers' lone goal Thursday on a consistent basis. Get pucks deep, put pressure on the defensemen, and get to the net.
That's easier said than done, but this series is ultimately going to come down to puck possession. The Rangers are dominating that category, and the Flyers know that has to change.
“We got to take what they give us,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said (see story). “We don’t want to turn it over against these guys. We won a battle there on [Andrew MacDonald’s] goal. When we win battles, our scoring chances will go higher. You got to win battles.”
3. House of horrors
Ever hear of home-ice advantage? That's what the Rangers currently have over the Flyers, who haven't won at Madison Square Garden in over three years.
New York's home winning streak against the Flyers is now at nine games. The Blueshirts have outscored the Orange and Black, 35-10, during that span and have allowed two or fewer goals in each of the nine games.
The Flyers can't move on to the next round of the playoffs without winning at least one game in New York. Whether it's a psychological factor or not, the Flyers simply need to avoid getting drawn into the Rangers' style of play. If they can steal a victory at MSG, momentum may start to shift in their favor. Forget the name of the building and stick to the game plan. All streaks come to an end eventually, right?
4. Where was Vinny?
When the Flyers made Vinny Lecavalier their big offseason acquisition last summer, you probably didn't expect him to start the playoffs centering the team's fourth line.
And you probably didn't expect Lecavalier to finish his first playoff game as a Flyer with only seven minutes and 42 seconds of ice time.
But that's exactly how things have played out for the veteran forward. He had the least amount of ice time out of any Flyer in Game 1 and was a total non-factor in virtually every aspect of the game. Lecavalier won 1 of 4 faceoffs, was held without a shot and failed to register a hit in 13 shifts.
The Flyers do use Lecavalier on the power play, but the Rangers took just one penalty Thursday. That's one reason why Lecavalier's minutes were so limited, but the Flyers need to find a way to get him going.
It's clear Lecavalier is most comfortable playing in the middle, but the Flyers should consider moving him back to the wing on a line that sees more than eight minutes a game. After all, they are paying him $4.5 million a year.
5. This and that
• Giroux has been held without a shot in three out of five games against the Rangers this season.
• Brad Richards had a goal and two assists Thursday. He managed just one goal and no assists in the entire 2013 playoffs for the Rangers.
• The Flyers have allowed at least one special-teams goal in each of their last 11 playoff games.
• The Rangers have won seven of their last nine series in which they led 1-0.
• Steve Downie (upper body) is out for the Flyers. For New York, Chris Kreider is sidelined with a hand injury.