Rangers Ride Power-Play To 4-1 Win, 1-0 Series Lead

The first playoff series between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers since 1997 got kicked off tonight, and some fireworks were set off as a result.

The Rangers took the ice for their first postseason game of 2014, and MSG was rocking and the crowd was into it from the start.

With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Flyer forward Jason Akeson was called for a four-minute high sticking penalty after catching Carl Hagelin at the blue-line. As a result, the Rangers struck for two power-play goals 47 seconds apart. Martin St. Louis assisted on both, with Richards and Stepan being the goal scorers.

Carl Hagelin iced the game with a little over five minutes to play, as Richards gave him a perfect pass down low and Hags re-directed the puck into the yawning net.

Andrew MacDonald was the goal-scorer for Philly, but that is all they would get on this night.

Penalty Trouble 

One of the major keys in this series is going to be discipline, and the Flyers showed none of that tonight. Four penalties were taken by the away team, and that is ultimately what cost them in the end. Penalties kill your momentum and immediately give the advantage to the other hockey club.

If the Flyers don’t learn how to control themselves in key situations, this could potentially be a very short series.

Richards Was Key 

The 33-year old forward was a healthy scratch last year for the final two playoff games against the Boston Bruins. He only had one goal throughout the entire post-season, and after struggling for much of the shortened regular season, many thought he would be bought out in the summer. However, Glen Sather and co. decided against it, and that was probably one of the wisest decisions ever made by the Rangers general manager.

Richards had 51 points in the 2013-14 regular season, and he celebrated playoff time with a three-point night in this evening’s game one.

 Looking Ahead  The Rangers now have two days of rest before they play game two at MSG on Sunday at 12pm. They will have plenty of confidence heading into that game after tonight’s solid performance. McDonagh looked good in his return after a shaky first period, and the defense as a whole was terrific, as Flyers’ star-foward Claude Giroux was held to zero shots on goal, as he turned out not to be a threat.

Rangers lead series 1-0 

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