Braydon Coburn was one of the unsung heroes of Game 4 Friday night for the Flyers in their 2-1 win over the Rangers (see game story).
He played 25:27 grueling minutes against Rangers superstar Rick Nash and shut him down -- a small reason why the Flyers tied the series, 2-2, with Game 5 Sunday in New York.
Nash played 17:11 with five shots and was a minus-1.
“I think we’re doing it mostly by committee,” Coburn said. “They roll four lines pretty well, so we’re trying to roll three sets of D.
“Obviously, [Nash] is a big, strong player. You want to keep him to the outside as much as you can.”
Wasn’t he a focus?
“I don’t know,” Coburn said. “Just because ... they had some points and stuff, but honestly they’ve got four even lines that they use and you always are aware when there are great players like Nash and his linemates [Martin] St. Louis and [Derek] Stepan.
“But you know it’s playoffs and it’s four lines coming at you all the time. These guys are good players and you’ve just got to make sure you’re ready every shift against them.”
Flyers head coach Craig Berube lauded Coburn’s play.
“Great job, I thought he had a great game,” Berube said. “He skated, really skated and was strong on the puck and strong on his breakout plays.
“He did a great job down low against Nash. That is not an easy guy to check. That whole line is not easy to check with St. Louis and Stepan, a good line. Our D as a whole did a good job.”
The Flyers’ defense went more than half the game with five defenders after Nicklas Grossmann left in the second period with a lower-body injury.
“It was a heavy game,” Nash said. “It was a physical battle and it was a playoff-type game.”
And Coburn was all over Nash all game.
“I thought he’d been playing like that all series,” Nash said. “All their D-men have been finishing their checks, playing physical. We’ve got to hold onto pucks and bump off them.”
The Flyers won despite being outshot, 38-25. The losing team has outshot the winning team by at least eight shots in Games 2, 3 and 4.
Andrew MacDonald recorded five blocked shots in Game 4. He led the NHL with 242 blocked shots in the regular season.
The Flyers are now 34-35 all time in Game 4 of a seven-game playoff series. They’re strong in Game 5’s, winning 34, losing 25. When winning Game 4, the Flyers are 24-9 all time. When tied 2-2, the Flyers are 14-7 all time and 12-9 all time in Game 5 when tied 2-2.
The Flyers’ first goal of the game saw Jason Akeson rip a deliberate shot off the backboards with the carom coming out to Matt Read at the right post.
It was a set play, both players admitted after the game, though Akeson said he was first tempted to shoot the puck on net.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist got a small piece of Read’s one-timer, but not enough to stop it from going into the net. Read’s goal made it a 1-1 game.
“I didn’t expect it to come out that fast and on his stick he came faster, so it was hard for me to get across,” Lundqvist said.
“Your reaction is to kind of turn to your right first and then you realize it’s coming out of your left side. It was close that I got it, but it was not enough.”