Rangers never thought opening round would be ‘an easy series’

Mats Zuccarello
Mats Zuccarello said he never thought the Flyers series would be easy.
Credit: Getty Images

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night.

The Rangers did not.

“This is a good team,” Martin St. Louis said of the Flyers after the Rangers’ 4-2 loss in Game 2 Sunday night at the Garden. “By no means did we think this was going to be an easy series. We knew that they were going to be better after Game 1 and they were. This is a team that is not going to give up and we know that. We just have to keep pushing on our side and take some of the good things we did and correct the bad things.”

Back home again

Consider it mission accomplished for the Flyers.

Their goal was to split the first two games of the Metropolitan Division semifinal series against the Rangers, and with Sunday’s 4-2 win they were able to do so.

Now the series shifts to the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers compiled a 24-14-3 mark in the regular season.

“They had home ice in the series,” Ray Emery said. “[The Garden is] a tough place to come into. We knew our building is equally as tough to come into so we’re happy to split and now we’ll refocus going back home.”

The Rangers played the Flyers in Philadelphia twice in the regular season and lost both games — 2-1 on Oct. 24 and 4-2 on March 1.

“Now we have to go into Philly and try to get a couple,” Marc Staal said of a Rangers team that wen 25-14-2 on the road in the regular season.

Backup on top

Emery started Game 2 after the regular starter, Steve Mason, told the Flyers coaching staff after Saturday’s practice that he was not feeling well.

Mason has not played since being steamrolled by Andrew MacDonald and Penguins forward Jasyon Menga in the Flyers’ 4-3 overtime win last Saturday.

“He’s a battler and always has been,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said of Emery. “I’ve known Ray for awhile; we had him here before. He stays with it. He’s very good at that. He’s a true pro.”

It is unclear if Mason will be able to play in Tuesday’s Game 3. If he cannot, Emery will be the starter and Cal Heeter will reserve.

Blueshirt notes …

» When asked for his assessment of two embellishment calls in the second period against Mats Zuccarello and Derek Dorsett, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault demurred.

“It doesn’t matter,” Vigneault said. “You have to ask the referees.”

» The Rangers out-attempted the Flyers, 65-44, in Game 2. The Rangers also won 37-of-68 faceoffs. Philadelphia outhit the Rangers, 33-30, and blocked more shots, 22-13.

» Through two games, the Rangers are 3-for-12 on the power play. In 12 playoff games last spring, the Rangers were 4-for-44 on the man advantage.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


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