NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers: Game 5 Preview, TV Info and Prediction

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IApril 26, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25: Michael Raffl #12 of the Philadelphia Flyers misses a shot against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers during the second period in Game Four of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Steve Mason returned to the net for Game 4, and the Philadelphia Flyers played better as a team in a 2-1 victory. The series shifts back to MSG in New York, and the Rangers will look to take a 3-2 series lead. To date, the teams have alternated wins and losses, and a win in Game 5 would keep the streak going.

Both teams will look to take advantage in this game, because Game 6 will automatically be an elimination game. There is a lot to look at before this game gets underway, so here's a Game 5 primer to peruse before puck drop.


Series Schedule
DateFinal ScoreSeries Stats/ TV Information
Thursday, April 17NYR 4 - PHI 1Rangers Lead, 1-0
Sunday, April 20PHI 4 - NYR 2Series Tied, 1-1
Tuesday, April 22NYR 4- PHI 1Rangers Lead, 2-1
Friday, April 25PHI 2- NYR 1Series Tied, 2-2
Sunday, April 27Flyers at RangersNBC
*Tuesday, April 29Rangers at FlyersMSG, CSN
*Wednesday, April 30Flyers at RangersMSG, CSN 

 

Time: Sunday, April 27, Noon ET

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York

TV: NBC

 

Key Storylines for Game 5

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25: Rick Nash #61 skates against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Four of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Range
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rick Nash has appeared in 16 playoff games to date with the New York Rangers. In those 16 games, Nash has scored only one goal. During the regular season, Nash has been a consistent 30-goal scorer throughout his career, but he just can't put it together in the playoffs.

The Rangers are at a crossroads early on in the playoffs, and with the team's offense sputtering, Nash needs to step up.

Another big storyline is the return of Steve Mason. Mason had a phenomenal Game 4, and he made some saves that Ray Emery probably wouldn't have. He is a younger, more agile and more athletic goaltender, and that made a difference in a game in which shots came from a multitude of angles.

Goaltending will be key in Game 5, and once again all eyes will be on Mason.

  

Key Matchup: (NYR) First Line vs. (PHI) Top Defensive Pairing

The Rangers are back at home, so they will have the advantage of last change. This will allow Alain Vigneault to go back to matching lines, and this will allow him to get the matchups he wants in the offensive zone.

Look for Vigneault to try and keep the trio of Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan and Nash away from the Flyers' top defensive pairing, because the Rangers' top line was very quiet in Game 4.

 

Goaltending Tale of the Tape

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25:  Steve Mason #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the New York Rangers in Game Four of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Th
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Mason and Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes for Game 4. Lundqvist played very well in a 2-1 loss, and he stopped 23 of 25 shots. Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots, and his calm demeanor helped to set a tone for the entire game.

 

Rangers' Projected Lineup

Rick Nash | Derek Stepan | Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot | Derick Brassard | Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin | Brad Richards | Dan Carcillo
Brian Boyle | Dominic Moore | Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh | Dan Girardi
Marc Staal | Anton Stralman
John Moore | Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist
Cam Talbot

 

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

Steve Mason
Ray Emery

 

Rangers Will Win If...

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25: (L-R) Ryan McDonagh #27, Dominic Moore #28, Mats Zuccarello #36 and Kevin Klein #8 of the New York Rangers celebrate a goal at 4:38 of the first period by Moore against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Four of the First Round o
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Blueshirts will send the Flyers to the brink of elimination if they remain disciplined and if they take advantage on the power play. Special teams killed the Rangers in Game 4; they are going to need to be much better in Game 5. Simplicity with the puck, putting shots on goal and being smart are all things that the Rangers can do to ensure a victory on home ice. 

 

Flyers Will Win If...

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25: Mark Streit #32, Jason Akeson #42, Vincent Lecavalier #40, Jakub Voracek #93, and Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate Voracek's second period power-play goal against the New York Rangers in Game Four of the
Len Redkoles/Getty Images

If Mason pitches another stellar performance and the Flyers defense continues to stifle the Blueshirts offense, the Flyers will head home with a chance to upset the Rangers in the first round. The Flyers took advantage during their power play in the second period of Game 4, and that ended up being the difference between a win and a loss.

The Flyers have gotten better as the series has progressed, but neither team has been able to win two games in a row. Game 5 could make or break this series, and the Flyers will be up to the task on Sunday.

 

Prediction: New York Rangers 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1

To date, no team has won two games in a row, so the Rangers are due for a win. The Rangers have generally come out strong after a bad loss, and being on home ice should help. This game feels like it will be very tight in nature, because both teams don't want to make a costly mistake this late in the series.