With home ice advantage, the Rangers took Game 1 away from the Flyers in a comeback victory, only to let the exact opposite happen two days later, as the Flyers came from behind on New York ice to win Game 2 and even the playoff series 1-1.
Tuesday night in Philadelphia, with a crowd dressed for Oct. 31, the Rangers returned the Flyers’ favor from Sunday night, stealing away home ice and roaring past Philadelphia with a 4-1 game victory, and now a 2-1 series lead.
A one game series deficit, with the chance of four games still left to play, certainly doesn’t mean automatic trouble for the Flyers; the two teams have, after all, already sent a “home ice advantage need not apply here” message in this series. However, if Philadelphia continues to let New York control the speed of the game like the struggling home team did tonight, the Rangers’ chances of seeing the Montreal Canadiens in a second round matchup just got better.
Goals from Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis, Dan Girardi and Daniel Carcillo provided New York with numerous scoring opportunities from secondary lines, and the work in goal from Henrik Lundqvist need not go unmentioned on the night. However, the speed of New York’s four lines that overtook the Flyers for a continuous 60 minutes of play was the eventual game crushing factor for Philadelphia Tuesday night.
While four Rangers goals ended up on the score board, numerous more blatant scoring opportunities came into the Flyers’ zone as a result of puck turnovers and slow to defend blue liners not keeping pace with New York.
Philadelphia has home ice again Friday night with the opportunity to speed up their defensive game and even up the series, hopefully with starting goalie Steve Mason back on the ice. While Mason may present a better last line of battle for tonight’s struggling team, this series is already looking to be a battle of speed rather than a battle of net minding. If the Flyers aren’t careful, the quickest thing they will be doing is taking an early postseason exit.