Instant Replay: Rangers 4, Flyers 1

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Instant Replay: Rangers 4, Flyers 1

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- It looked like the planets were all in alignment for the Flyers early against the Rangers.

They scored on their first shot against Henrik Lundqvist and had a lead at Madison Square Garden with Ray Emery playing well.

All signs pointed to the Flyers breaking their MSG curse -- having not won in the building in three seasons -- but the Rangers, who owned large portions of ice all night long scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 rout of the Flyers in Game 1 of the playoffs.

Two third-period power-play goals 47 seconds apart sank the Flyers.

You can't score goals if you don't get shots on net and that was a critical problem for Craig Berube's club.

The Flyers had no forecheck, which meant they had no puck possession and in turn, no shots.

The Flyers' top line finished with two shots on net, both belonging to Scott Hartnell. Neither Claude Giroux or Jakub Voracek recorded a shot.

They were beaten badly to every puck they played deep, too, while the Rangers seemed to have numbers on the Flyers in the corner the entire second period in which the Flyers were badly outplayed.

Emery held the Flyers in the game as long as he could.

Penalties
Jason Akeson's double-minor for high sticking at 7:35 in the third period resulted in two Rangers goals. The Flyers had three bad penalties in the period that cost them the game.

No shots
The Flyers went more than seven minutes into the first period without recording a single shot. It was 4-0 in shots when the Flyers opened the scoring.

First shot
Andrew MacDonald's left-point drive that touched nothing but net at 7:28 for a 1-0 lead was the game's first goal and MacDonald's first as a Flyer. Hartnell set it up with a crushing hit on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, forcing a turnover and Hartnell got it back to MacDonald on the blue line. McDonagh jabbed his stick in Giroux's back just as the puck was going past Lundqvist.

Breakdown goal
The Rangers tied it at 10:53 when Emery left a high rebound off Mats Zuccarello into the high slot where he snuck past Sean Couturier for a second chance and scored into the far side off a backhander. Play began with Braydon Coburn losing a puck battle behind the goal.

Good chance
Voracek had a nice wraparound attempt near the end of the first period, then had Dan Girardi pin him to the ice for several seconds without a whistle. The two briefly looked at each other as if they were going to drop the gloves then skated away.

Seven
Through the first 27 minutes of the game, the Flyers had just seven shots on goal. They were outplayed badly in the second, as New York had far too many quality chances between the dots.

Second period
Emery kept the Flyers in the game with a number of quality saves, several on Brian Boyle and Rick Nash, who had nine of the Rangers' 23 shots through two periods.

Special Teams
The Flyers were 0 for 1 on the power play, while the Rangers were 2 for 6.

Penalty kill
The Flyers' PK units had to kill off a four-minute high-sticking call on Akeson. Marty St. Louis' shot rebounded off Kimmo Timonen directly to Richards in the right circle for a goal that broke a 1-1 tie at 8:22. The Rangers got another from Derek Stepan right after to ice it.

Scratches
Goalie Steve Mason (whiplash/concussion); forwards Jay Rosehill, Tye McGinn, Steve Downie, Chris VandeVelde and defenseman Hal Gill and Erik Gustfasson were all healthy scratches. 

Loose pucks
Mason wasn't supposed to join the club until Friday, but showed up for the game. … Couturier had one-on-four shorthanded rush in the first period without a shot. … The Rangers outshot the Flyers, 14-6, in the first period. … Through two periods, Vinny Lecavalier and Timonen were also held without a shot.

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Flyers got some swagger back Sunday night.

But especially so on the power play, which entered Sunday's clash just 2 for 19 over the last six games.

Two markers on the man advantage helped the Flyers edge the Canucks, 3-2, at Rogers Arena in Vanvoucer (see Instant Replay).

“It all comes back to finding a way to produce – and they did that tonight,” said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, who had called for his power-play participants to rediscover that swagger.

Hakstol’s club won for the first time in its last nine games in Western Canada. More importantly, the Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference.

Thanks to the power-play success, the Flyers built a 3-0 lead in the game’s first 23 minutes and then hung on, atoning for a sub-par effort in a one-sided loss to the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday night.

The Flyers converted two of three power plays while blanking the Canucks on all four of their man advantages. The loss prevented the Canucks (26-28-6) from getting closer to a Western Conference playoff berth.

“I thought we were playing some pretty good hockey of late, but the pucks weren't going in,” said Flyers center Brayden Schenn, who scored the winning goal on the power play at 2:38 of the second period. “Tonight, we tightened up defensively again from Edmonton's game and were able to score a few more goals. It's a huge two points going home."

Wayne Simmonds, also on the power play, and Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ other goals.

“We needed a win,” Simmonds said. “Especially after the game in Edmonton, this is good for the morale."

Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on all three goals, recording the first three-point night of his career.

Schenn’s winning goal came only a minute and 27 seconds after Voracek gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 1:11 of the second by sending Sean Couturier’s huge rebound into a gaping net behind Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. Voracek’s goal was his first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

How did long sought-after goal make him feel?

"Like I scored a goal,” deadpanned Voracek. “We won the game. That’s the way I looked at it. It doesn't matter who scored the goals. Special teams were huge tonight. I liked our power play. We were going all 60 minutes. This one kept us in the race."

The Flyers were a well-rested team thanks to a two-day break between games and a three-day break before the start of the road trip. The Canucks, on the other hand, were playing their second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip. But there was still considerable suspense over the final 30 minutes.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen tallied for the Canucks, who are known as comeback artists, at 3:43 and 12:42 of the second, respectively, before the Flyers shut Vancouver down the rest of the way. Voracek indicated the Flyers were not nervous in the final frame.

"I don't think we changed anything to be honest,” he said. We were pretty tight in the neutral zone. We didn't give them much. When we had a couple of breakdowns, [Michal Neuvirth] was on his act.”

Neuvirth stopped 18 of 20 shots as the Flyers outshot the Canucks, 28-20. He enjoyed a much better start Sunday, holding the Canucks scoreless in the opening period after allowing four goals on his first 12 shots on Thursday in Edmonton. One of his better saves came with just over a minute into the game as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close.

"I felt good,” said Neuvirth. “I have been practicing well and playing with confidence. The last game, it didn't work out. I put that one behind me and restarted my mind and got back to work tonight.”

“I thought he was excellent,” said Hakstol. “He was calm and settled in there. You can go back through that 60 minutes and you can pick out three or four pretty darned good saves.”

Neuvirth excelled while making his fourth consecutive start and sixth in the past seven games overall.

“It feels good,” he said of the heavy workload. “It feels better when we win.”

But he was not about to get too excited. The Flyers have a tough clash at home Wednesday against NHL-best Washington and a road game Saturday at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field against the rival Penguins as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.

“We have a tough schedule coming and we have to be ready,” Neuvirth said.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed Vancouver to come back in the Canucks' second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in Michal Neuvirth after the Flyers' netminder allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. Neuvirth started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 1:11 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. It was Ghost's first career three-point game.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Up next
The Flyers head back home to meet the NHL-best Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.