Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Rangers wrap up East's No. 1 seed by completing sweep of Flyers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Any team hoping to knock off the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference playoffs will have to win at Madison Square Garden.

Ryan McDonagh and Marion Gaborik each had a goal and an assist, and the Rangers secured the No. 1 seed in the East with their seventh straight victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-3, on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

That means the road to the Stanley Cup finals in the conference must go through Broadway. The Rangers are 27-11-2 at home this season.

"You work all year to get this point," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "That was our goal coming into the season, to be No. 1 in the conference, and now we accomplished that. But now we have a whole new season, and that's the reason you play the game coming up."

It's the first time the Blueshirts have finished first in the East since Mark Messier and Mike Richter led them to their last Stanley Cup championship in 1994.

"Nice to have that feather in our cap after the guys worked so hard all year," defenseman Marc Staal said.

Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov and Callahan also scored goals for New York, which has won five of six overall to carry some momentum into the playoffs next week.

Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell had Philadelphia's goals. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't sharp in his first game back after missing four games with a chip fracture in his right foot.

"We're close to the playoffs. I don't want to say how I feel," Bryzgalov said. "I think I could play better. I was a little bit rusty."

The Flyers lost in regulation for just the fourth time in their last 18 games and fell three points behind Pittsburgh for fourth place in the East, meaning they'll likely start the playoffs on the road against the Penguins.

That's not so bad for the Flyers, because they are 5-0 at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center since it opened in October 2010.

"The playoffs are a different beast," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

Henrik Lundqvist continued his mastery of Philadelphia, stopping 37 shots to earn the win.

"That's the most confident I've seen him in weeks," Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

The Rangers swept the season series, going 6-0 against the Flyers, including a victory in the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 2. Philadelphia's last win against the Rangers came on Feb. 20, 2011. It's the longest winless streak for the Flyers against New York in nearly 40 years.

McDonagh gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 6:25 into the first period by scoring his seventh goal of the season. Gaborik centered a pass from behind the net to the slot, where McDonagh fired it past Bryzgalov.

Lundqvist robbed Simmonds with a left-handed glove save during a power play in the first to keep it 1-0.

Then the Rangers took control on offense.

New York went up 2-0 on Boyle's 10th goal five minutes later. Bryzgalov made a nice kick save on a slap shot by McDonagh, but he got tangled with a defenseman and left the net open for Boyle.

Anisimov scored a nifty power-play goal while drawing two penalties on his way to the net. Anisimov took a lead pass from Dan Girardi, split the defense, broke in and beat Bryzgalov to the far post with a backhand-forehand move for his 15th goal. Anisimov was hooked by Marc-Andre Bourdon, and Pavel Kubina got a double minor for high-sticking him.

Just 36 seconds into the ensuing two-man advantage, Callahan scored his 29th goal to make it 4-0.

"The last 15 minutes of the first period wasn't good at all," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We have to make sure we're ready to go. We talked about individual preparation. You have to come to the game ready to go."

The only highlight for the Flyers in a miserable first period came when Jody Shelley dropped Mike Rupp with a right-hand punch to the side of the head. Rupp declined to fight Shelley during a game earlier this year and called him "irrelevant."

The Flyers got on the scoreboard when Voracek tallied his 18th goal in the second period. Voracek slipped one through Lundqvist's legs during a scramble in front.

The teams traded goals in the final minute of the second. Gaborik scored his 41st of the season on a power play. Simmonds answered with his 28th goal, also on the man-advantage.

Hartnell got Philadelphia within 5-3 in the third. The goal was first credited to Andreas Lilja but was changed after the game.

"Obviously you get a 4-0 lead, it's hard to keep at them," Callahan said. "They kept battling and, at the end of the day, we got the win."

NOTES: The last time the Flyers went seven games against the Rangers without a win was a 13-game skid from November 1971 to December 1973. ... The Rangers are 35-5-3 when scoring first. ... Simmonds has scored a goal in five consecutive games. ... Lundqvist is 22-10-3 against Philadelphia. ... The Flyers played without forward Danny Briere (back) and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (lower body).
View Comments (0)