The Stanley Cup playoffs looked ominous for the Philadelphia Flyers once they drew the New York Rangers. Or rather, the Flyers looked doomed when they couldn't get home ice against the Rangers -- guaranteeing they'd need one road win to advance through the Stanley Cup playoffs. Since Philadelphia hadn't won at New York in nine straight tries, including in Game 1, it seemed like the kiss of death -- until the Flyers rallied back in Game 2 on April 20.
After falling behind by 2-0 early, the Flyers scored the last four goals of Game 2 to prevail by 4-2. Not only did it end their losing streak at Madison Square Garden, it tied their series up at 1-1 and gave the Flyers home ice of their own.
The Rangers are now the ones who need one road win to get out of the first round. New York doesn't have a long losing streak in Philadelphia, yet it lost both regular season games there this season. Now that the Flyers have momentum and may have a healthy Steve Mason in net soon -- and already have a confident Ray Emery in his place -- the Rangers need some road magic in a hurry.
It didn't appear necessary when the Rangers picked up where they left off. After getting three third-period goals to close Game 1 on April 17, New York kept Philadelphia in a hangover, as Martin St. Louis and Benoit Pouliot got on the board within the first eight-and-a-half minutes.
It took Jakub Voracek to stabilize the Flyers and perhaps save their season with his own first period goal. Emery then settled down and so did Philadelphia as a whole, leading to Jason Akeson tying the score on a power play. Minutes later, another penalty was pending against the Rangers, yet Luke Schenn scored before they could touch the puck and stop play.
With the Flyers suddenly ahead halfway through, the Rangers spent the next 30 minutes trying to replicate the first eight. It didn't work, as Emery finished with 31 saves and Wayne Simmons finished the Rangers on an empty net tally.
Philadelphia has staked its claim in the Stanley Cup playoffs, having erased its biggest mental obstacle. Now if it can protect home ice of its own, starting with Game 3 on April 22, another win at New York won't be necessary.