Some Key Points for Flyers-Rangers

By Russ Cohen

If you’re the Rangers do you feel any better that Ray Emery is the goalie for the Flyers? No, hockey players don’t think like that. They always think they will score and be successful and never think about who’s in net because that could affect the way they play.

Do the Flyers care that Emery is in the net. Coach Craig Berube admitted Mason is a better stickhandler but otherwise every teammate believes in both guys. They went about their business today the same way they always do with the exception of some minor line/position changing that could be just for practice so I won’t even take stock in that.

Did Ray Emery prepare for this? 

“Dom (Dominick Hasek in Ottawa) got hurt that one year in the Olympics and never came back. It’s a team effort when you talk about the Flyers. You’re always trying to be prepared and stay ready and healthy,” said the veteran netminder.

 The Rangers have to get production out of Rick Nash. He did score 26 goals but his 39 points in 65 games isn’t worthy of his $7.9 million dollar deal. He’s healthy now and he’s never had a solid playoff series. He needs to step up because Sean Couturier could be the man who gets the job of shutting him down. He’s been able to do that to Evgeni Malkin so why not Nash?

“We’ll see but all year we’ve been going against good players and lines and have had success,” said Couturier. “The entire series is going to be high tempo, really in your face hockey. It’s exciting.”

Couturier, born in 1992 has never watched any video of previous Flyers-Rangers matchups. 1997 would be the most recent but he smiled at us when he said there was no chance he did when he was 5.

Mark Streit could be another wild card for the Flyers. He’s picked up steam since the Olympics and he’s had plenty of MSG experience. He’s played a ton against Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and knows what works and doesn’t work.

“If you face good goalies and shoot from far out he’s going to make the save. We have to get in his face and take his view/eyes away and take advantage of shooting the puck if we can,” said Streit, who faced Lundqvist as an Islander and this year the Flyers. “It’s a great building. Those games are unbelievable and why you play hockey. It’s a great rivalry and a great series.”

Ryan McDonagh seems to be the #1 guy the Flyers want to take away time and space from. Even though the Rangers have some marquee names in Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards, he’s a concern if his shoulder’s 100% on both sides of the puck. We’ll soon find out that answer. The Rangers will also be without Chris Kreider so Benoit Pouliot and Brian Boyle have to play in the crease or it could be a long game for the Rangers. The Flyers are expecting a great goalie and a fast pace, with a raucous crowd. Are the Rangers ready to protect their crease and stay away from punishing hip checks that Zac Rinaldo will try and line up?

The last time the Rangers beat the Flyers in a playoff series was 1986. They are poised to do that again but the Flyers have an incredible bounce back ability that should make this a long series. A lot’s changed since then and this rivalry should get very nasty very quickly and players on both sides are expecting that as well.