The Flyers were looking to take their first series lead yesterday since they led the New Jersey Devils 1-0 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
As has become commonplace, it did not go according to plan.
The Flyers got off to a decent start but, for the fourth game in a row, the Rangers scored first. Derek Stepan broke out on a 3-on-2 with Martin St. Louis and Marc Staal. Stepan worked the puck to St. Louis who dropped in back to Staal. Staal ripped a slap shot that Steve Mason got a piece of with his blocker but not enough as Staal gave New York a 1-0 lead in the first period.
The second period picked up where the first period left off as the Rangers swarmed Mason and the Flyers. About eight minutes into the second, there was a pile-up in front of the Flyers net as both teams dug for the puck. It eventually squirted free to Mason’s right and Brad Richards put home the goal to make it 2-0 Rangers.
Philadelphia would get their opportunities. The Flyers broke in on an odd-man rush and had Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist moving post to post. The puck was worked back to the trailer, Hal Gill, who fired his shot wide of the open net that would’ve cut the New York lead in half.
It went from bad to worse for the Flyers as later in that same shift Braydon Coburn passed Gill the puck at their own blue line but the puck ended up in Gill’s skates. Rangers forward Dominic Moore picked up a head of steam getting to the loose puck and broke in on Mason. Mason got a piece of Moore’s shot but, once again, not enough as New York went up 3-0 late in the second period.
The Flyers would get on the board as their struggling power play went to work with less than a minute left in the second period. Andrew MacDonald got the puck to Mark Streit who worked it to Vinny Lecavalier at the point. Lecavalier let loose a slap shot that beat Lundqvist to make it 3-1 heading into the third period.
Philadelphia turned up the intensity late and pulled Mason with three minutes remaining. The Flyers got pressure on Lundqvist when Kimmo Timonen set up Claude Giroux for a one-timer that the Flyers captain deposited for his first goal of the series and made it a 3-2 game with 1:29 remaining.
Unfortunately a Flyers turnover led to the Rangers being able to clear the zone which set up Moore’s pass to Brian Boyle for an empty-net goal to give the Rangers the 4-2 Game 5 win and the 3-2 series lead.
The two teams return to Philadelphia for Game 6 at 7:30 pm on Tuesday with the Flyers looking to force Game 7 in New York on Wednesday.