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Rangers blow early two-goal lead, allow Flyers to even series
With four consecutive goals, the Philadelphia Flyers erased an early Rangers two-goal lead and evened the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game apiece Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
The 4-2 victory snapped the Flyers' nine-game losing streak at the Garden, stretching back to Feb. 20, 2011. It was the first time the Flyers had scored more than two goals in the drought. Wayne Simmonds scored an empty-netter with 25.4 left.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
After leading 2-0 on Martin St. Louis' first playoff goal for the Rangers at 4:08 and Benoit Pouliot's power-play goal at 8:22 of the first, both off high-end passing sequences, the Rangers started to crack and missed a huge opportunity to grab a 2-0 edge in the series.
Pouliot's tally would be the Rangers' only goal in six power-play opportunities as goaltender Ray Emery, again subbing for the injured Steve Mason, stopped 31 shots.
With a terrific individual effort, Jakub Voracek cut the lead in half, driving down the right side past Ryan McDonagh, cutting to the crease and when Henrik Lundqvist missed a poke check, tucking the puck inside the far post at 14:14 of the first.
The Flyers seemed to gain momentum from the way the period finished, and the Rangers began having trouble with the revived Philadelphia forecheck.
The Rangers came close to killing Anton Stralman's interference penalty at 3:48 of the second, but rookie Jason Akeson, whose costly four-minute minor penalty for high-sticking Carl Hagelin opened the gates for two goals in 47 seconds in the Blueshirts' 4-1 win on Thursday, tied the game on a rebound with four seconds left on the infraction.
The game became chippier, with scrums and checks after whistles. Emery, who made 32 saves on Thursday, kept the Rangers at bay and Luke Schenn's rebound at 11:18 gave the Flyers the lead, their first since being ahead 1-0 early in Game 1.
In the third period, Lundqvist stopped Adam Hall's short-handed breakaway. At the other end, Emery denied Mats Zuccarello, who scored in Game 1.
With 7:21 left in the third, the Rangers had just two shots in the period on Emery, as the Flyers' defense tightened up. And with 1:19 to go, the Rangers shot themselves in the foot with a too-many-men penalty, and Simmonds scored with Lundqvist pulled.