The New York Rangers are one victory away from advancing to the second round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs. On Tuesday night, they’ll look to close out their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers. New York leads the seven-game set 3-2.
The No.2 seed Rangers have clearly been the better team in their first-round matchup, outscoring the Flyers 15-10. Recent history, though, would suggest that New York will come up short in Game Six. The team has lost 11 straight contests, when they’ve had a lead in their postseason series. After following up two of their victories against Philadelphia with a loss, New York is ready to end that 11-game losing streak.
"I've tried not to think of it that there is another opportunity," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You've got to approach it as maybe this is our last shot at it, too. You've got to make sure you're just playing the game, playing it the right way, not thinking about the whole situation too much. Just preparing yourself, doing what you need to do to get ready to play a game, trying to win one hockey game."
A win for New York would give them a second-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. A victory for Philadelphia would force a Game Seven on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia trails New York by just one game in the series, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Rangers have completely shut down the Flyers in the first round, limiting them to two goals per game. In the playoffs, only the Detroit Red Wings’ offense has been more anemic than the Flyers, who ranked eighth in the regular season in goals scored. New York has done an especially good job on Claude Giroux, who’s registered just three points in the series, following an 86-point regular season. The Rangers have blocked 90 shots in five games, in addition to Henrik Lundqvist’s 113 saves.
The contest is the only NHL playoff game scheduled for Tuesday night. The NBC Sports Network will broadcast the game on national TV at 7:30 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with NBC Sports Live Extra.
As the series returns to Philadelphia, the game is considered to be a toss-up. The consensus betting odds at Las Vegas casinos has the moneyline for both teams listed at -110. The Flyers might be poised to bounce back from their Game Five loss, considering they are one of the best home teams in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers, though, perform even better on the road. They led the conference in the regular season with 25 road victories.
The series has gone back-and-forth, with both teams alternating wins. If the pattern continues, Philadelphia will come out on top and force a Game Seven. However, there is little to suggest that the Flyers’ offense will turn itself around in Game Six. The Rangers have scored four goals in all three of their victories, and Philadelphia scored more than two goals just once in the series. If New York can muster up any kind of offense, this could be the end of the line for Philadelphia.
New York 3, Philadelphia 1