Monday, October 20, 2014
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Flyers-Rangers Game 7 preview

NEW YORK -- The tangible scoring affect may have been negligible, but Craig Berube’s gamble to swap players on his top two lines in an effort to ice a quicker lineup seemed to pay off.

Flyers-Rangers Game 7 preview

Claude Giroux and the Flyers return to Madison Square Garden Wednesday night for Game 7 against the Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Claude Giroux and the Flyers return to Madison Square Garden Wednesday night for Game 7 against the Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- The tangible scoring affect may have been negligible, but Craig Berube’s gamble to swap players on his top two lines in an effort to ice a quicker lineup seemed to pay off.

Scott Hartnell moved to the second line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

Michael Raffl rose from the fourth line to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.

Hartnell was still on the ice with Giroux for the first goal of the game. Simmonds caught Schenn’s miscue for the second goal, and they’ve been together most of the season. But the net result, Berube said, was a mix with a little more speed and spunk.

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“I think it did give us jump,” Berube said. “But I went to those lines before and it was successful. I like the speed of Raffl on that top line; it’s just a faster line. I thought the Schenn line did a real good job on the (Dominic) Moore line. The Moore line has been an effective line for them - they’re physical and they skate well. I put Hartnell, Schenn and Simmonds together because it’s a big, strong line. They did a good job.”

Berube kept the initial changes close to his vest. He did not tip his hand in the morning skate - or even in the pre-game line rushes. Instead, he surprised Alain Vigneault in the first period.

The new combinations would have had a short leash, for sure, but they produced a lead after the first period and remained together when the rout was on. The risk was clear and defined, breaking up lines who have been together for the better part of six months in an elimination game. 

Berube has said all along, though, that he would make decisions in the playoffs based on the moment, not the long-haul. The reward proved worth the risk.

> Expected lineup:

 Raffl - Giroux - Voracek
Hartnell - B. Schenn - Simmonds
Akeson - Couturier - Read
Rinaldo - Lecavalier - Hall

Timonen - Coburn
MacDonald - Streit
L. Schenn - Gustafsson

Mason
Emery

> Home teams are a combined 2-4 in Game 7s in the first round in the last two years.

> 37 of the 149 all-time Game 7s have gone to overtime. Home teams are 19-18 in those games.

> Vinny Lecavalier played fewer minutes (9:28) than any other Flyers player, including Zac Rinaldo. Lecavalier was a non-factor in Game 6, the same as he has been most of the series. He was slow to pucks and the only Flyers forward without a hit in the game.

> The Flyers have killed off 20 consecutive Ranger power plays, dating back to Game 2. 

“We couldn’t score, but we couldn’t do a lot of things,” New York’s Brad Richards said Tuesday night. “You never want to have those nights, but it wasn’t a lack of focus. We wanted to play well, we just didn’t execute in many areas tonight.”

> According to Bovada Las Vegas, the Flyers (+140) are the biggest underdog of the NHL’s three Game 7s on Wednesday. Their struggles at Madison Square Garden are well-documented, yes, but it is an interesting number considering the lopsided nature of Game 6.

> Why has neither team been able to hold the momentum from game-to-game?

“The other games we had a couple days off and I think that's kind of why you say the series go 1-1, 1-1,” Wayne Simmonds guessed. “Teams had time to regroup and now we've got the momentum, we've got to put our foot on the pedal and we've just got to keep pushing forward. I think we just take the positives from this game and keep it rolling. Going into tomorrow night I think it's great that we're having a back to back, actually.”

> Looking ahead: John Shannon of Rogers Sportsnet reported last night the Flyers and Rangers have been notified they will have 48 hours to prepare for Game 1 of Round 2 in Pittsburgh. Shannon believes Game 1 will be Friday night at Consol Energy Center, with Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.

> GAME 7 STATS:

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

                     GP  W   L   G  A  PTS GW

Braydon Coburn        3  3 - 0   1  0   1  0
Steve Downie          3  2 - 1   0  1   1  0
Hal Gill              6  4 - 2   0  1   1  0
Claude Giroux         2  2 - 0   0  3   3  0
Adam Hall             2  1 - 1   0  0   0  0
Scott Hartnell        3  3 - 0   1  1   2  0
Vincent Lecavalier    4  3 - 1   0  1   1  0
Mark Streit           1  1 - 0   1  0   1  0
Kimmo Timonen         3  3 - 0   0  3   3  0

NEW YORK RANGERS
                     GP  W   L   G  A  PTS GW
Brian Boyle           2  2 - 0   0  0   0  0
Derick Brassard       1  1 - 0   0  2   2  0
Daniel Carcillo       2  2 - 0   1  0   1  0
Derek Dorsett         1  1 - 0   0  1   1  0
Dan Girardi           4  3 - 1   1  0   1  1
Carl Hagelin          3  3 - 0   0  2   2  0
Chris Kreider         3  3 - 0   0  1   1  0
Ryan McDonagh         3  3 - 0   0  0   0  0
Dominic Moore         4  3 - 1   2  1   3  1
John Moore            1  1 - 0   0  0   0  0
Rick Nash             1  1 - 0   0  1   1  0
Benoit Pouliot        3  2 - 1   0  0   0  0
Brad Richards         5  5 - 0   1  3   4  0
Marc Staal            3  2 - 1   1  0   1  0
Derek Stepan          3  3 - 0   0  1   1  0
Martin St. Louis      4  3 - 1   0  1   1  0
Anton Stralman        3  3 - 0   0  0   0  0
Mats Zuccarello       1  1 - 0   1  0   1  0

                      GP  MINS  W-L   GAA  SHO  SV%

Henrik Lundqvist      4   240  3-1  1.00   1  .963
                                       GA SOG
4/28/2009 NYR  1 at WAS  2       CQF L   2  24
4/26/2012 NYR  2 vs OTT  1       CQF W   1  27
5/12/2012 NYR  2 vs WAS  1       CSF W   1  23
5/13/2013 NYR  5 at WAS  0       CQF W   0  35

COACH: Alain Vigneault (2-1)

4/23/2007 VAN  4 vs DAL  1       CQF W
4/26/2011 VAN  2 vs CHI  1 (OT)  CQF W
6/15/2011 VAN  0 vs BOS  4       SCF L

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS GAME SEVEN RESULTS

4/18/1968  PHI  1 vs STL  3       L
5/05/1974  PHI  4 vs NYR  3       W
5/13/1975  PHI  4 vs NYI  1       W
4/25/1976  PHI  7 vs TOR  3       W
4/26/1981  PHI  1 vs CGY  4       L
5/02/1987  PHI  5 vs NYI  1       W
5/31/1987  PHI  1 at EDM  3       L
4/16/1988  PHI  4 at WAS  5 (OT)  L
4/29/1989  PHI  4 at PIT  1       W
5/26/2000  PHI  1 vs NJ   2       L
4/22/2003  PHI  6 vs TOR  1       W
5/22/2004  PHI  1 at TB   2       L
4/22/2008  PHI  3 at WAS  2 (OT)  W
5/14/2010  PHI  4 at BOS  3       W
4/26/2011  PHI  5 vs BUF  2       W

NEW YORK RANGERS GAME SEVEN RESULTS
4/02/1939  NYR  1 at BOS  2 (3OT) L
4/23/1950  NYR  3 at DET  4 (2OT) L
5/02/1971  NYR  2 at CHI  4       L
5/05/1974  NYR  3 at PHI  4       L
5/01/1992  NYR  8 vs NJ   4       W
5/27/1994  NYR  2 vs NJ   1 (2OT) W
6/14/1994  NYR  3 vs VAN  2       W
4/28/2009  NYR  1 at WAS  2       L
4/26/2012  NYR  2 vs OTT  1       W
5/12/2012  NYR  2 vs WAS  1       W
5/13/2013  NYR  5 at WAS  0       W

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