Rangers let chance at victory slip away in second period
All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole after Martin St. Louis and Benoit Pouliot both found the back of the net in the first 10 minutes.
But everything they worked for vanished in the span of a period.
“They came back and got the momentum from us and we just couldn’t respond,” Derek Dorsett said after the 4-2 Game 2 loss.
Jason Akeson, whose high stick on Carl Hagelin in Game 1 led to two Rangers power-play goals, tied the game at 2-2 when he banged a power-play goal past Henrik Lundqvist (21 saves) at 5:45 in the second. Luke Schenn scored the game-winner on a delayed penalty six minutes later when he backhanded an Adam Hall rebound past the Rangers’ goaltender.
“In the second period — this game can be funny sometimes — I thought it was our best period,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We had some Grade-A chances, our power play had some great looks and they scored two and we didn’t. At the end of the night that was the game. Give them credit. … When the other team makes mistakes you have to make them pay, and tonight we didn’t.”
The Rangers only converted once on six opportunities with man advantage. By comparison, the Flyers scored on two of their three power plays.
“We had some power plays tonight that we didn’t get done,” Brad Richards said. “They seemed to be very opportunistic on their chances and they won.”
Wayne Simmonds added an empty netter at 19:34 of the third. Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ first goal 14:14 into the match.
The Rangers and Flyers are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series which recommences Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia where the Rangers lost twice during the regular season.
The loss ends the Rangers’ nine-game winning streak over the Flyers at the Garden dating back to Feb. 20, 2011. The loss was also the Rangers’ seventh straight in Game 2s dating back to a 2-0 shutout to the Capitals in the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“Anytime you don’t win a game in a round it’s a missed opportunity,” Marc Staal said. “Obviously we didn’t get the win like we wanted. They made a good push there in the second and we weren’t able to stop it. So now we have to go into Philly and try to get a couple.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.