Flyers Tie Series With Four-Goal Comeback
It is said as a general rule that the first goal after a 2-0 lead is the most crucial. Jakub Voracek's monumental late first period goal sparked a comeback resulting in a 4-2 Flyers win over the New York Rangers. As a result, the series is tied at one apiece heading into game three.
As had been the largest story coming into this series, the Flyers snapped a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden in comeback fashion.
Luke Schenn capped off the furious comeback by tapping home a rebound past a sprawled Henrik Lundqvist halfway through the second period. On a delayed penalty, Adam Hall collected a Michael Raffl pass and shoveled a shot on goal that popped right on Schenn's stick. No Ranger would score after that goal was scored.
The odds of a four-goal unanswered comeback looked extraordinarily slim early on. Martin St. Louis scored his second goal as a New York Ranger on a pretty passing play five minutes into the contest, and a Benoit Pouliot power play goal made it 2-0 a few minutes after that.
Voracek changed everything. He took a saucer pass from Scott Hartnell along the right wing, barreled past the Rangers defense and tucked a backhander past Lundqvist to put the Flyers within one. It was either that, or a 3-0 deficit against, which could have been curtains for the Flyers.
"When we were down 2-0, I didn't think we were playing that bad," head coach Craig Berube said. "It was obviously a big goal by [Voracek], and a big penalty kill in that period as well."
Two players who created seeds of doubt after one game provided monumental contributions to this game.
Ray Emery, starting in place of still-injured Steve Mason, looked all but done for after allowing two goals on side-to-side passes. He went on to stop 31 Ranger shots in the win, holding the fort after furious push after push in the third period.
It was the first time Emery played in back-to-back games this season due to the volume of starts Steve Mason had this season. He was rewarded with first star honors on the night.
Jason Akeson took a double minor penalty in game one. He responded in game two with a critical power play goal in the second period to tie the score at two. Berube rewarded the young forward with a shade over nine minutes of ice time, in which he unloaded three shots.
"It was pretty exciting for me, that's for sure," Akeson said of his goal. "It feels good to get that win under our belt."
"I understand he took a four minute penalty [in game one], but, you know, he played well," Berube said of Akeson. "He's a good player."
Redemption is a big storyline come playoff time, and both Akeson and Emery exemplified this to a tee on this day of redemption, Easter.
"I thought we were more comfortable in this game," Emery said in a postgame conversation with NBC's Joe Micheletti. "I thought our third period was really good tonight, having that lead and keeping that lead."
Defense certainly helped. While the Flyers still allowed over 30 shots, the defense blocked 22 shots. Braydon Coburn led the way with four blocks, Kimmo Timonen blocked three, and six other players blocked two shots. They also forced 15 Ranger giveaways.
Aside from better defense, game two was a game dictated by penalty calls. So much so that referees Wes McCauley and Eric Furlatt whistled down 15 penalties. Nine of them came in a physical, testy second period.
The Flyers ended up winning that special teams battle, knocking home two power play goals on three opportunities. Conversely, the Rangers scored on one of six power play chances.
Perhaps one of the only negatives came down to icings. Of the 14 icings in this game, the Flyers committed ten of them.
Even with all of those blemishes, captain Claude Giroux lauded his team's effort of playing 60 minutes and playing within the system.
With home ice established, a colossal game three hangs in the balance without a named starting goaltender, but with a comfort factor of breaking what had been a dubious streak.