This was all supposed to be about discipline, and it turned out being about gravity. That’s because as Flyers rookie Jason Akeson fell to the Garden ice midway through the third period of Game 1 on Thursday night, his stick flew wildly upward, hard into the upper lip of the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin, and it drew blood in more ways than one. Because on the ensuing double-minor, the Rangers scored two power-play goals in a span of 47 seconds, setting themselves on a route to a 4-1 win and a 1-0 lead in this first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. “We talked about power play this time of year, and when you get four minutes in the third period of a 1-1 playoff game, if you don’t score or don’t get momentum there, it can go the other way fast,” said Brad Richards, who was outstanding in scoring the first of those goals and setting up the other on a slick feed to Derek Stepan, which made the game 3-1 with 10:51 remaining. “One was huge, and to go back out and get the other one, that won us the game.” What won the Rangers the game, and what will now allow them to head into Game 2 on Easter Sunday at noon with a boatload of confidence, is the Flyers were never able to get under their skin. This Turnpike rivalry was supposed to be one full of fury and angst, and the way the Rangers responded was mostly by turning a cold cheek to the whole matter. “It’s the playoffs, so obviously it’s going to be a little bit of scrums and stuff like that,” said Mats Zuccarello, that persistent little sparkplug playing his way into the hearts of the fans and who tied the game 1-1 midway through the first period after Andrew MacDonald had given the Flyers the early lead. “So you can’t let that frustrate you.” The Flyers came in knowing their No. 1 goalie, Steve Mason, was back at home nursing what is believed to be a concussion, and veteran backup Ray Emery was going to need some support. Instead, what they did was live up to their regular-season precedent as the most penalized team in the NHL, taking a total of six minors, with three of them just venting frustration after Akeson had made his fatal mistake. And the only time the Rangers ever showed any type of slip in discipline was when Zuccarello found himself burying Machael Raffl’s head into the ice early in the second — a penalty that was wiped out by way of Brayden Schenn taking an off-setting high-stick call on Derick Brassard.
Rangers roll past chippy Flyers for Game 1 win
New York Post | Apr 18