When I was growing up in the 80s and early 90s, the Rangers biggest rival was the Islanders. From the mid 90s through the beginning of the 2000s the Devils claimed the mantel. Now, the Flyers are currently public enemy #1 for Blueshirts fans. So get ready folks, this first round match-up between the Rangers and Flyers is going to be a war.
Say what you will about the ill-conceived new playoff format, but if it brought us the first Rangers/Flyers series since 1997, it can’t be all that bad.
With the Rangers far superior on the road than at home this season, many felt home ice in the first round wasn’t a huge deal for the Blueshirts. However, against the Philthy Flyers it absolutely is an advantage as the Blueshirts have won eight straight in the series at MSG.
Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 1.10 gaa while starting all eight of those victories.
Speaking of goaltending, Steve Mason was knocked out of yesterday’s Flyers victory over the Penguins with an “upper body” injury. However, Flyers coach Craig Berube said after the game that he expects Mason to be ready for Game 1. If not healthy, Philadelphia would be forced to turn to “tough guy” goaltender Ray Emery, who is far more skilled at fighting than stopping pucks.
Rangers fans have a couple of days to get themselves in the right frame of mind for this series as a Wednesday night Knicks game has forced the series to begin on Thursday.
Here’s the Rangers on facing the Flyers…
And here’s this to get you fired up this Sunday morning…