NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers have no doubt they will be back at Madison Square Garden one more time with their season on the line.
First they will have to beat the New York Rangers at home on Tuesday to make Game 7 on Wednesday necessary.
The Blueshirts will do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“They have been a way better team both times leading in the third period,” Rangers forward Brad Richards said after Sunday’s 4-2 win pushed the Flyers to the brink of elimination. “We have to stick to the game plan (in Game 6) and try to execute it the best we can all series.”
Flyers goalie Steve Mason faced far fewer shots in Game 5 than he did in Friday night’s 2-1 win in Game 4, and he was far less effective. After stopping 37 drives in his first start of the series, Mason turned aside only 18 of 21 Sunday.
“This series is definitely not over,” Mason said. “We are looking forward to getting back home and having a big game there and bringing it back here for Game 7.”
Henrik Lundqvist made the difference in this one for the Rangers, stopping 24 shots.
“He is one of the best goalies in the league, and we are aware of that,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux, whose first goal of the series cut the deficit to 3-2 with 1:29 left. “We need to get traffic and put more pucks on net. If you want to beat him you need to have nice shots. He played well.”
Lundqvist was the beneficiary of a three-goal lead that was trimmed to two when the Flyers got their power play to work in the closing seconds of the middle period. But the Rangers kept it together in the third and withstood a late surge.
Richards and Dominic Moore scored in the second to make it 3-0.
Defenseman Marc Staal gave the Rangers the lead in the first, and Brian Boyle ended the drama with an empty-net goal with 15 seconds remaining. Moore helped seal the win when he raced up ice to negate an icing call and fed Boyle.
New York leads 3-2 in the series in which the teams have alternated wins throughout.
“We took back the advantage, and we have to win one now,” Richards said. “We put ourselves in a good position. We were in control for most of the game. They got a little sneaky there at the end.”
The Flyers went 0-2 during the season at the Garden and are 1-2 there during this series.
“We’re playing well,” Giroux said. “It’s a tough building to play in. Game 6 is going to be huge. We are not looking at it like it’s our last game of the season. We’ve come back all season long when it matters, and we’re going to stay confident.”
New York is 13-2 in series it has led 3-2, but the Rangers have lost 11 straight games in which they had a series lead.
Philadelphia is 7-10 in Game 6 when trailing 3-2.
The Rangers increased their pressure in tight on Mason, a stated objective, and created multiple scoring chances in the second even though they managed only eight shots.
“As you go through a series, you have to keep elevating your game because the other side will,” Rangers forward Martin St. Louis said. “I thought we did that, and we got rewarded.”
New York thought it grabbed a 2-0 lead 2:14 in when St. Louis poked in a loose puck in the crease, but the play had been blown dead.
The Rangers took their two-goal lead on Richards’ second of the series and 30th career playoff score. With a crowd around Mason, Richards tucked in a backhander at the left post off assists from J.T. Miller and Carl Hagelin.
Unlike in previous games in which the Flyers rallied after being down 2-0, New York pushed its edge to 3-0 later in the period with a big assist from Philadelphia defenseman Hal Gill, playing his first game of the series.
Gill was unable to handle a rough pass at his blue line from defense partner Braydon Coburn. Moore swooped in to poke the puck behind him and skate in alone. Moore beat Mason for his second of the series and then leapt into the arms of Boyle, sending them both to the ice.
“I tried to kick (the puck) up, and I kicked it back,” Gill said. “I have to make that play, and I didn’t. When you’re in the playoffs, you make a little mistake and it costs you.”
Philadelphia took advantage on its fifth power play when Lecavalier scored his first of the series and 25th in 68 career playoff games.
The Rangers had six shots on Mason in the first period, but Staal made it 1-0 with his first goal in 29 games, dating to Jan. 26 against New Jersey outdoors at Yankee Stadium.
NOTES: The Rangers put the 21-year-old Miller into the lineup in place of agitator Daniel Carcillo. It was Miller’s career postseason debut. … The 39-year-old Gill replaced defenseman Nick Grossmann, who injured his right knee in Game 4. Gill played in only six regular-season games. … Hagelin took three of the Rangers’ five penalties.
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