The New York Rangers got off to a hot start in Game 2 by scoring two goals on their first four shots, but some defensive lapses and poor play led to four unanswered goals by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers snapped a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden, and they tied the series in the process.
The Flyers did everything they didn't do in Game 1, and their tenacity enabled them to best the Rangers. Game 3 will be a pivotal part of the series, and the winner will take a 2-1 series lead. The Rangers have been kings on the road this year, but they didn't defeat Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center this season.
Game 3 is going to be must-see TV, and here's a primer to peruse before puck drop.
Where Can I Watch the Game?
Time: Tuesday, April 22, 8 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: MSG, CSN
Key Storylines for Game 3
One of the top storylines for Game 3 involves the Flyers' best player, Claude Giroux. The Flyers captain has yet to register a shot on goal this series, and he hasn't been a factor. The Flyers were able to get the job done on Sunday, but the Rangers will come out hard for Game 3 after snoozing through the final 40 minutes of Game 2.
If Giroux continues to be silent, the Flyers could be in trouble, because a productive Giroux could swing the balance of power in the Flyers' favor.
Another storyline involves Rick Nash, one of the Rangers' top forwards. The hulking forward picked up an assist in Game 2 and was great defensively, but he hasn't scored a goal yet this series. Nash was horrendous during last year's playoffs, and fans have a reason to be concerned early on.
If Nash doesn't get going, the pressure will continue to mount, and that is something that the Rangers should be worried about.
Key Matchup: (NYR) Defense vs. (PHI) Claude Giroux Line
The Flyers are the home team for Game 3, so they have the advantage of last change. During the first two games at MSG, Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault deployed Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi against the Giroux line.
During Game 3, look for Flyers head coach Craig Berube to try to get the Giroux line on for every offensive zone faceoff, because he has really struggled thus far against McDonagh and Girardi. Marc Staal and Anton Stralman could have a long night, because more often than not they will be in the zone defending Giroux and Co.
Goaltending Tale of the Tape
Ray Emery and Henrik Lundqvist are expected to be between the pipes on Tuesday night, and both have played decent throughout the two games. Emery was the better goaltender in Game 2, and he will look to get a winning streak going.
Lundqvist will look to bounce back after an average performance in Game 2, and the goaltending battle should be entertaining to say the least.
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 3 if they get back to playing a smooth transition game. In Game 2, the Blueshirts were immobile and stagnant, and that allowed the Flyers to disrupt their flow. The Rangers will also need to capitalize on the power play, because a 1-of-6 showing during Game 2 was pathetic.
The Rangers will need to stay disciplined as well, because the Flyers went 2-of-3 on the man advantage in Game 2.
Flyers Will Win If...
The Flyers will continue their winning ways in Game 3 if they continue to pressure the Rangers, and if they stay disciplined. The Rangers didn't make them pay in Game 2, but don't expect that to continue if they are given opportunities in Game 3. Associate coach Scott Arniel is mercurial and meticulous when it comes to the power play, and odds are the Blueshirts practiced special teams during practice on Monday.
The Flyers will also win if they continue to crash the net, because they scored two of their four goals on rebounds in Game 2.
Prediction: New York Rangers 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1, OT
After two one-sided games, look for Game 3 to be very tight in nature. Both teams understand the importance of taking a 2-1 series lead, so look for the game to be very close throughout. It seems like this game will require more than 60 minutes, and look for the Rangers to continue with their success in overtime play.