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Flyers use strong second period to even series

April 20, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



NHL PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK -- The Philadelphia Flyers have made a habit of coming back late in games. In the regular season they won 11 times after trailing at some point in the third period.

They didn't wait until the third period Sunday, rallying from a 2-0 first-period deficit with Jason Akeson and Luke Schenn scoring the tying and winning goals in the second period as the Flyers beat the New York Rangers 4-2 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds also scored for the Flyers, who won at Madison Square Garden for the first time in 10 tries, dating back to Feb. 20, 2011.

Ray Emery stopped 31 shots for his first playoff win in exactly three years -- April 20, 2011 when he was a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 in Philadelphia on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).

Martin St. Louis and Benoit Pouliot scored for the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist had 21 saves.

St. Louis and Pouliot scored 4:14 apart in the first to put the Rangers ahead, but the Flyers never lost faith.

"We were down 2-0 and I didn't think we were playing that bad," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "We made two mistakes and they capitalized on them. The bench was good so I didn't feel a need to do anything. Just keep playing."

The Flyers started their run on Voracek's goal. Scott Hartnell chipped a pass from center ice to Voracek on the right side. He picked up the puck at full speed, blew around Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, pulled the puck around a lunging Lundqvist and scored at 14:14.

"That was a big goal," Schenn said. "Down 2-0 we knew we needed that next one. We didn't want to go down three, especially in this building. That was a huge goal for us. Guys got skating after that instead of standing around watching. We were able to find the way after that."

Akeson, who took the four-minute high-sticking penalty that changed the course of Game 1, evened the score at 5:45 of the second period. Anton Stralman was called for interference 3:48 into the second, and late in the man advantage Vincent Lecavalier fired a shot from the right side that hit off Brayden Schenn in front and Akeson was there to knock in the rebound.

Luke Schenn gave the Flyers their first lead of the series at 11:18 of the second. Michael Raffl carried the puck down the right side of the Rangers' zone and centered a pass to Adam Hall. Lundqvist stopped Hall's attempt but Schenn jumped into the play to poke in the rebound.

Schenn had four goals in the regular season but none in 22 games entering Sunday. But with the Flyers about to get a power play he figured it was the right time to join the rush.

"It was a delayed penalty," he said. "I knew if they touched the puck it was blown dead anyway. Just figured I'd jump up in the rush. Guys did a great job just battling, and I was able to get a rebound and chip it in."

The Rangers had chances to get back in the game, including a power play late in the second and another early in the third, but went 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

"We had some power plays [Sunday] that we didn't get done," Rangers forward Brad Richards said. "We had some point-blank chances that Emery made some big saves on. It could go either way in some of those situations. They seemed to be very opportunistic in their chances and they won."

The Rangers knew they were going to get a better effort in Game 2 from the Flyers, but up 2-0 they felt they should have been able to withstand their push.

"When you get a 2-0 lead on home ice in Game 2, that's what you want," Richards said. "We couldn't have wrote it any better. They get one and then they got a couple more in the second. ... They worked for their bounces and they were a better team [Sunday] than they were [in Game 1]."

The Flyers' penalty killing had been one of the few constants in an up-and-down season, and it was solid again Sunday.

"They [penalty killers] did a great job," Berube said. "Only gave up the one goal. It was a weird play, we were on a line change, gave them too much time, too much room. Overall they did a good job killing that 4-on-3 [in the second period]. Good shot blocks ... just did a good job with their sticks and stuff."

And backstopping the effort was Emery, who is getting a chance to play with Steve Emery recovering from an upper-body injury. Mason skated before the game Sunday and is expected to skate again Monday, but his status for Game 3 remains unknown.

"We're down 2-0 and it's easy to throw in the towel there and I guess think you're down and out," Luke Schenn said. "But he [Emery] did a great job of battling all night. The amount of penalties we took, he was huge for us. He made some big saves. Some odd-man rushes he was there to bail us out."

Simmonds closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 25.4 seconds remaining.

"We knew if we stuck with the game plan we'd turn the game around and that's exactly what happened," Voracek said. "Ray Emery was huge in the net. He won us the game. ... We have to make sure we bring the same game Tuesday."

A split in the first two games of the series is something the Flyers are happy with heading into the next two games at Wells Fargo Center.

"This is tough place to come into," Emery said. "We know our building is equally tough to come into. We're happy with the split and we have to refocus going back home [for Game 3]."

The Rangers also will try to put Game 2 behind them and focus on the future.

"It's playoff hockey," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Every team is a good team. ... It's hockey. We've got to get ready for the next one."


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