It was an artless and choppy contest, yet the result still put the Rangers on the brink of moving on in this postseason. On Sunday afternoon at the Garden, the Blueshirts plodded their way to a 4-2 win over the Flyers in Game 5, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven, first-round series. As Game 6 looms back in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, so does the possibility the Rangers can win a series before the seventh game for the first time in six seasons. “Pressure is something that these athletes are used to,” coach Alain Vingeault said after Saturday’s practice. “We’ve preformed under pressure situations for a long time to get into the playoffs, and we preformed real well. There is urgency [Sunday], everybody knows that.” According to the Elias Sport Bureau, there have been 227 best-of-seven playoff series tied 2-2 in NHL history, with the winner of Game 5 advancing in 180 of those (79.3 percent). It might seem like an obvious stat, but it’s one the Rangers were supremely aware of coming in. “It’s a pivotal game,” forward Brian Boyle had said, “regardless of the outcome.” By the time the third period rolled around, those in the Garden that had not been lulled to sleep by the lack of offensive chances or the sputtering power plays on both sides were watching the Rangers lock the game down. The Flyers pulled the goalie and got a late tally from Claude Giroux, his first of the postseason making it 3-2 with 1:29 remaining, but attempts to tie in the waning seconds fell flat and Boyle added an empty-netter to send Philadelphia home with its season on the line. It seemed as if the Rangers were going to run away with things in the second period, when they first took a 2-0 lead 8:07 in on a high backhand from Brad Richards, his second of the playoffs. Eight minutes later, Dom Moore stole the puck from lumbering defenseman Hal Gill – the 39-year-old who was only playing his seventh game of the season, first game of playoffs, in place of the injured Nicklas Grossman – and beat Steve Mason over his glove for a 3-0 lead. The Flyers got out of the second with a bit of life, as Vinny Lecavalier took a long slap shot that deflected in off Kevin Klein’s stick, making it 3-1 going into the second. It was a power-play goal – the Rangers took five penalties through the first two periods, giving Philadelphia 9:11 of man-advantage time. The game began with a rather uneventful first period, both teams just settling in while the noontime crowd collectively yawned. The Rangers had a 15-minute span in the middle of the period when they got just two shots on goal. One of them, a long, low shot by Marc Staal, beat Mason under his left arm to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead, 11:53 in.
Rangers one win from second round after taking Game 5 from Flyers
New York Post | Apr 28