The New York Rangers continued their dominance over the Philadelphia Flyers with a decisive 4-1 victory in Game 1. The Blueshirts will look to take a 2-0 lead on the road, an area they dominated throughout the season.
The Rangers' top stars showed up in a big way in Game 1, and the Flyers' top players will need to join the series when Game 2 gets underway Sunday afternoon.
The Flyers will look to snap their losing streak at MSG, but will they be able to come back against a Rangers squad that controlled Game 1?
Where Can I Watch the Game?
Time: Sunday April 20, noon ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Key Storylines for Game 2
The Flyers are forced to start Ray Emery in Game 2 because Steve Mason is still injured, and that is something the Rangers will be happy about. During Game 1, Emery was exploited while moving side to side, and the Flyers' defense did very little to support him. For the umpteenth time goaltending is an issue for the Flyers, and it will be a major storyline of Game 2.
Another major storyline is the resurgence of Brad Richards. Richards recorded three points in Game 1, and he looked fresh and rejuvenated.
John Tortorella famously scratched Richards during the final two games of last year's playoffs, and it looked like Richards would be bought out. Instead the Blueshirts kept him, and they are currently benefiting from his ability to come through in the clutch during the playoffs.
Key Matchup: (NYR) "PBZ" Line vs. (PHI) Andrew McDonald and Luke Schenn
The line of Benoit Pouliot, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello played very well in Game 1. The Flyers took a lead early, but a hard-working effort from Zuccarello got New York on the board. In Game 2, look for this line to be played more; they should square off against the Flyers' third pairing.
The "PBZ" line was the Blueshirts' best line all season, and if they can continue exploiting the Flyers' third pairing, the series could end in four or five games.
Goaltending Tale of the Tape
Henrik Lundqvist and Emery will both get the nod for Game 2. Lundqvist was magnificent in Game 1, stopping 14 of 15 shots. Emery stopped 32 of 36 shots in Game 1, and he will have to play better in Game 2, or the Flyers could quickly find themselves in a 2-0 hole heading back to Philadelphia.
Lundqvist currently has a 1-0-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. Emery is 0-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average, and a .889 save percentage.
Rangers' Projected Lineup
Rick Nash | Derek Stepan | Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot | Derick Brassard | Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin | Brad Richards | Jesper Fast
Brian Boyle | Dominic Moore | Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh | Dan Girardi
Marc Staal | Anton Stralman
John Moore | Kevin Klein
Flyers' Projected Lineup
Scott Hartnell | Claude Giroux | Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl | Brayden Schenn | Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read | Sean Couturier | Jason Akeson
Zac Rinaldo | Vincent Lecavalier | Adam Hall
Kimmo Timonen | Braydon Coburn
Mark Streit | Nicklas Grossmann
Andrew MacDonald | Luke Schenn
Rangers Will Win If...
The Blueshirts will win Game 2 if they repeat their strategy from Game 1. If they avoid the antics of the Flyers, play a steady transition game and excel at special teams, they will head to Philadelphia with a 2-0 series lead over the Flyers.
Flyers Will Win If...
The Flyers will even things up if they get off to a hot start and if Henrik Lundqvist has an off day. The Flyers will also need to capitalize if they go on the power play, because they didn't have much success against the Rangers five-on-five throughout Game 1.
Claude Giroux needs to make himself known, because he was invisible in Game 1. If Giroux shows up and the aforementioned all happens, the Flyers will head home with a chance to steal home ice from the Rangers.
Prediction: New York Rangers 4, Philadelphia Flyers 2
Emery looked absolutely horrendous in Game 1, and the Rangers already have a blueprint mapped out to exploit him. Lundqvist has been in the zone over the last few weeks and was on a different level during Game 1.
The Blueshirts received contributions from all four lines in Game 1, and the Flyers didn't show enough in Game 1 to warrant giving them the benefit of the doubt. Look for the Rangers' offense to continue chugging along, helping them take a 2-0 series lead over the Flyers.