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The New York Rangers finally disposed of those pesky Philadelphia Flyers tonight. They defeated them 2-1 in Game 7 of the Metropolitan Divisional Semi-Finals and will now move on to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite giving all of their fans mild heart-attacks all night long, the Rangers played a tough, smart game all the way through.
Dan Carcillo once again inserted himself right into the plot of the game (as he did in game 3). He broke the ice only 3:06 into the second-period by putting one past Steve Mason, according to CBS Sports. What made the play though was a beautiful blind, back-hand pass by Mats Zuccarello, one that would make #99 blush.
Later in the second, Benoit Pouliot made a move without the puck and was rewarded by another great pass, this time by Derrick Brassard. Banging this one home gave the blue-shirts a 2-0 lead.
Despite the lead, Flyers goalie Steve Mason was incredible all night. If not for his stellar-play, Philly would have been out of it much earlier in this one. Rangers forward Rick Nash had a few opportunities which Mason shut down, including one that rang off the post early in the game.
With the Rangers in full control entering the third-period, of course Ranger fans were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it did.
Flyers center Jason Akeson ripped one past Henrik Lundqvist early in the third. The puck was initially blocked but Akeson stuck with it and surprised “The King.”
Heart-Attack city once again for Rangers fans.
The remainder of the game saw the Flyers presented with a few great scoring chances including Claude Giroux shooting wide on a cross-ice pass.
New York’s defense and speed was just too much as they killed the rest of the clock and closed out the series.
The story of this series was the Rangers' speed against the Flyers' toughness. Seemingly, the Rangers were the better team all series long, but the Flyers always kept things interesting, and always scratched and clawed their way back into things.
Flyers goalie Steve Mason had a lot to do with this as he frustrated Rangers’ snipers since his return (injury) late in Game 3. He finished with two wins (Games 4 and 6) and had a sparkling 1.97 goals against average, according to NHL.com. He was by far Philly’s best player.
The story-line for the Rangers was lack of killer instinct and terrible power-play. They finished the series 0 for 23 on the power-play and still managed to win.
The insertion of Danile Carcillo into the lineup of Game 3 and Game 7 was the positive story-line. He scored goals in both games, and when “non-goal scorers” actually score goals, it does a lot for the emotions of a team.
New York will now travel to Pittsburgh for games 1 and 2 and take on the Penguins in the Divisional-Finals. Unlike the Flyers, the Pens are a finesse-team much like the Rangers. It will be a battle of speed and skill and should be fun to watch.
image via Facebook from ESPN New York