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.
|Date||Final Score||Series Stats/ TV Information|
|Thursday, April 17||NYR 4 - PHI 1||Rangers Lead, 1-0|
|Sunday, April 20||PHI 4 - NYR 2||Series Tied, 1-1|
|Tuesday, April 22||NYR 4- PHI 1||Rangers Lead, 2-1|
|Friday, April 25||PHI 2- NYR 1||Series Tied, 2-2|
|Sunday, April 27||Flyers at Rangers||NBC|
|*Tuesday, April 29||Rangers at Flyers||MSG, CSN|
|*Wednesday, April 30||Flyers at Rangers||MSG, CSN|
Time: Sunday, April 27, Noon ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Key Storylines for Game 5
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
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
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 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...
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.