The New York Rangers wrapped up their first round playoff series with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Daniel Carcillo and Benoit Pouliot were the surprising heroes for the Rangers, giving their team a two-goal lead in the second period. Henrik Lundqvist did the rest, stopping 26 shots to hold on to the lead and clinch the series.
New York outshot the Flyers for the third time in a row, 33-27 and this time the Rangers were rewarded with a victory.
Anton Stralman played a vital part in this victory as well, tallying one assist and blocking three shots. Rick Nash was involved all game long, using his speed effectively to penetrate the Flyers' defence. Nash ended the night with six shots on goal.
The Philadelphia Flyers have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, though. They used their aggressive fore-check to keep the game close. Jason Akeson scored the Flyers' only goal early in the third period to try and launch a comeback but in the end, the Flyers just ran out of time.
Steve Mason had an outstanding game yet again, stopping 31 shots on the night. Scotty Hartnell and Claude Giroux had some great chances, but just couldn’t beat Lundqvist.
Both of these teams were very well matched and played to their strengths all series long. I believe the Rangers won this game because they were far more disciplined and did not engage in the Flyers' bullying tactics by retaliating.
In fact, both teams did a wonderful job of not taking careless or lazy penalties. Lundqvist remained calm and composed even after getting Flyers forward Hartnell thrown on top of him late in the game.
But in the end, the Flyers exit the playoffs in the first round. One thing is certain, though, they won’t be needing to shop for a starting goaltender any time soon. Mason has carried this team all year long and will only continue to improve.
The only other question for the Flyers and their fans is, has veteran defenceman Kimmo Timonen played his last game? I believe he’ll be back next year.
This win means the New York Rangers will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two of the playoffs. It’s Nash and Martin St. Louis against Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. It’s Lundqvist against Marc-Andre Fluery. I can’t wait to see how this series is going to go.
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