NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube knows what's at stake Wednesday, but said he's trying to treat Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round playoff series against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) as he would any other game.
"We'll talk about the same things we always talk about before games," Berube said. "Go over things, get them prepared."
Berube said his team played its best game of the series in its 5-2 win in Game 6 on Tuesday. To win Game 7 and advance to a second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said they need to repeat that effort.
"We want to have lots of energy; good energy," Berube said. "We want to play aggressive. It's important to get skating right away in a game like this."
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have plenty of big-game experience to draw on heading into Game 7 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PHI).
If their recent success in winner-take-all games has taught the Rangers anything, it's that experience won't necessarily matter.
"You've just got to go out and play. You can't overthink, you can't overanalyze," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They know us well, we know them well. They're going to go out and play, we're going to go out and play."
It happened Tuesday for the first time in five seasons when the Philadelphia Flyers scored four times on 23 shots against Lundqvist over two periods. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pulled his veteran goalie in favor of backup Cam Talbot to open the third period of an eventual 5-2 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center.
The first-ever Game 7 at Madison Square Garden between the Rangers and Flyers will be played Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN2, CSN-PH, MSG).
"It's definitely disappointing, but [Game 6] is over," Lundqvist said. "We have to move on quickly. Go back to New York, get some rest and get ready. You don't want to analyze this too much. They just felt better tonight in all areas. We will move on quickly here."
Grossmann was injured in Game 4 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers when he fell into the boards during a battle for the puck with the Rangers' Derick Brassard.
PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Rangers will look to close out their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday before what is sure to be a boisterous crowd for Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
A victory by the Rangers, who hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series, and preparations may commence for a second-round series showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Flyers even things up, the teams will square off in a winner-take-all finale in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in their history on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
No team has strung together consecutive wins yet in the series. The Rangers scored a 4-2 victory in Game 5 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
"There's nothing separating the teams; we're all so close," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "You just look throughout the NHL and what's going on in these playoffs. The most consistent team in the League this year, San Jose, went up 3-0 and now they're even going into a Game 7.
"It's a tough League with good teams, and everybody prepares well and prepares hard."
PHILADELPHIA -- For the second straight game the Philadelphia Flyers will have a new defenseman in the lineup.
Erik Gustafsson will replace Hal Gill when the Flyers face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, NBCSN, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.
"I like his speed," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "He's a quick player up ice. ... Just looking at that aspect of it."
VOORHEES, N.J. --Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready to disclose his lineup for Game 6 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
But with his team looking to upgrade its speed, one option could be inserting defenseman Erik Gustafsson.
The 25-year-old had two goals and eight assists in 31 regular-season games, but has played four games in April and has been a healthy scratch through the first five games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"He can get up the ice," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "We have guys that can do that; we just haven't done it enough."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers remain a confident bunch heading into Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH) because they feel they still haven't played their best game.
In order to get there, the focus has to be on being better in the offensive zone.
"We have to be more aggressive," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We have to get more shots. When we are more aggressive I think we create some turnovers, we score more, we get more shots on net. It comes down to being more aggressive.
"Sometimes you sit back a little too much and give too much room for the other team. That's not really our game. Our game is skating and forecheck hard and being aggressive. … We've got to play our game. It doesn't matter what they do. Sometimes we worry way too much about what they do, how many shots they block. Who cares? Just go out there and do your job, and we're going to be fine."
He's hopeful that day will come Tuesday, when the Rangers and Flyers play in Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"He's due," Vigneault said of Nash. "He's had some great looks and is working really hard. I have and his teammates have a lot of confidence in Rick. He's doing a lot of the right things, and sooner or later the puck is going to go in."
Four years later, the former teammates are playing in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With the Rangers leading their best-of-7 series 3-2, any fond memories between the two have been put on hold heading into Game 6 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will each have one lineup change when they play in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).
The Rangers will insert J.T. Miller at right wing on the third line with center Brad Richards and left wing Carl Hagelin. Miller had three goals and three assists in 30 games with the Rangers and 15 goals and 42 points in 43 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate.
It will be the first Stanley Cup Playoff game for Miller, 21. He replaces Daniel Carcillo, who had a goal in Game 3 and six penalty minutes in two games.
The New York Rangers were understandably disappointed the day after a 2-1 loss that allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to tie their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series 2-2.
It wasn't just that they lost Game 4 at Wells Fargo Center, but how they lost.
The Rangers got off to a great start against the Flyers in their quest to take a 3-1 series lead. New York outshot Philadelphia 16-6 in the first period, matched the Flyers' physicality, and took a 1-0 lead on Dominic Moore's goal 4:38 into the game. But the Flyers scored the next two goals, held a 35-26 advantage in faceoffs, and held the Rangers without a goal on four power plays.
Looking back on what could have been, the Rangers held an optional skate Saturday. Their next step will be moving on and being ready for Game 5 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).
"It's gone now," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said Saturday. "You let it go. Now today it was all about getting the energy back and focusing on tomorrow."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- One focus for the Philadelphia Flyers heading into Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series Sunday against the New York Rangers is getting off to a better start than they have in the previous three games.
The Flyers have been outscored 6-4 in the first period of the first four games and have allowed the first goal in three in a row. The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC,RDS,TSN).
"We've got a guy that's a quick guy, he closes quick," Berube said. "He's been a good player for us. And you got the old, crafty veteran back there that has played a lot of games and has got good leadership. He doesn't have the feet the other guy has [but] he's smart. So it's not an easy decision.
"I'm going to sleep on it [Saturday] and wake up in the morning and make a decision."
PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said matching the urgency the Philadelphia Flyers will exhibit from the outset is of utmost importance Friday in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
Vigneault gave his players the morning off the ice but met with the media two hours before faceoff to discuss Game 4. The Rangers hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 5 is Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
If the series were to go seven games, the final three would be played in a span of four days with Game 6 (Tuesday in Philadelphia) and Game 7 (Wednesday in New York) on consecutive days in different cities.
"I wasn't here for those grueling series [of the past] but I have had my share of them; it's a tough league," Vigneault said. "Teams are good. Everybody that comes into the playoffs would like to win in four but the opposition has something to say about it.
"There's so little separating the teams now. It's more than normal that the series are hard-fought and long. We're going to go out [Friday] and put our focus on one thing and that's the game and what we need to do to have success."
PHILADELPHIA -- After establishing career-high regular-season totals across the board in his sixth season, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds has struggled to find that offensive form in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers.
It certainly hasn't been for a lack of effort; Simmonds has averaged 2.33 shots and two hits in three games against the Rangers. He has one goal and a minus-2 rating to show for it.
In the regular season, Simmonds averaged 2.54 shots and 1.60 hits on his way to 29 goals and 60 points in 82 games.
When Simmonds is doing what he does best -- working the corners, crashing the crease and creating havoc in front of the opposing goalie -- good things usually happen for the Flyers.
The Rangers limited Simmonds and his linemates, Brayden Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier, to four shots in a 4-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday that gave New York a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Flyers will look to get even in Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
"We can't change our game; if we change our game we will change the identity of our team, and that's not what we're going for here," Simmonds said after practice Friday. "We want to keep the identity of our team and make sure we're playing on the line, but not over the line."
But with Mason making his first start of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH), there is one skill that sets him apart from Emery, and that's Mason's ability to handle the puck.
"When you have a guy that can make the right decisions behind the net, it's very important," forward Vincent Lecavalier said. "It helps our defensemen out for sure. Just making that first quick play or them communicating with the defense. It's important to get out of the zone. I think it's going to be a great help for us."
PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Rangers will look to duplicate their blueprint for success against the rival Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
The Rangers hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
In a 4-1 victory against the Flyers in Game 3 on Tuesday, the Rangers scored two early goals to take some of the adrenaline and emotion out of the crowd, denied their opponent lanes to shoot the puck, and consistently played with patience.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- After having 28 shots blocked in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers, including nine during five power plays, the Philadelphia Flyers spent a large portion of practice Thursday working on puck movement in 5-on-4 situations.
The hope is that the extra work pays off in Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Coach Craig Berube opted not to change any of his personnel or base set-ups, but one noticeable strategic alteration on the top unit was forward Jakub Voracek having more pucks worked through him in his rover spot along the right side, rather than have everything flow through captain Claude Giroux along the half boards on the left side.
"It's more about puck movement and opening things up, doing things quicker," Berube said. "It's about execution. We had a lot of zone time on the power play but not enough executing pucks through to the net."
But every indication is that forward Daniel Carcillo will remain in the lineup and continue to add fuel to an already fiery matchup.
After being a healthy scratch for the first two games, Carcillo made an impact against his former team in Game 3 on Tuesday. Skating on a line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin, he played his signature physical style and took two penalties before scoring the final goal in a 4-1 win that allowed New York to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Carcillo was excited about the goal but was more concerned about the two penalties, especially considering the Rangers have preached discipline throughout the series.
"I know my role. I said it when I got here. No matter where I am in the lineup, to be an energy guy, a role guy, be physical, wear the other team down," Carcillo said after practice Thursday. "I just have to be smarter going forward with the stuff after the whistle. We addressed that today."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Goalie Steve Mason will start for the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Mason was on the ice for the entire practice session Thursday and said he feels ready to go.
"Second day in a row, third day really, where there were no issues on the ice," he said. "Was a good feeling."
It will be Mason's first start since April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period.
VOORHEES, N.J. --Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready Wednesday to name his starting goalie for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
After blowing an early two-goal lead in the previous game, the New York Rangers made some defensive adjustments Tuesday to claim a 4-1 win in Game 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers and take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series.
That ability to adapt has the Rangers feeling confident heading into Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, MSG, RDS).
As the Rangers did in Game 2 on Sunday, they took a 2-0 lead Tuesday before the Flyers scored a late first-period goal. Unlike Game 2, in which New York surrendered three more goals in a 4-2 loss, the Rangers defense answered when called upon.
"Last night, we had to make a lot of great defensive plays, whether it be the blocked shots or getting numbers back so we could be able to get the puck out of our end," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said in a conference call Wednesday. "Philly had a strong game, they came at us with pushes and good looks. But compared to other games that we have played this year, in last night's game we had to make a lot of great defensive plays. That's part of hockey and we found a way to win."
PHILADELPHIA -- Though New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis was grateful to receive the news of his nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy, his focus was clearly on the Philadelphia Flyers and Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).
"It's always an honor to be nominated for any award, but I think my focus is on something bigger and better right now," St. Louis said. "I think our effort and desperation need to be higher [on Tuesday]. We know that so we'll bring it."
The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1.
Though Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't reveal his lineup for Game 3, there is a chance former Flyer Daniel Carcillo could make his debut in the series.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Forward Claude Giroux took a hard tumble into the boards during the Philadelphia Flyers' morning skate Tuesday but popped right back up and said afterward he felt fine.
The Flyers hope he feels just as good after they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, SNET-360, MSG, CSN-PH).
The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1, but Giroux has zero shots. He does have an assist and a plus-3 rating, but for a player who finished third in the NHL in scoring with 86 points and tied his career-best with 28 goals, the hope is there's more offense for him to contribute.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers fans have gained a bit of a reputation over the years for their raucous behavior at Wells Fargo Center. Could it be affecting how the team performs on the power play?
"It's a little harder when 19,000 people yell shoot after 20 seconds on the power play," forward Jakub Voracek said.
The Flyers had the 25th-ranked power play at home during the regular season at 15.1 percent. After the Olympic break it was 9-for-56 (16.1 percent) in 14 games at Wells Fargo Center; however, that includes a 2-for-6 effort in the final two home games against the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 12 games against teams that were playoff contenders, it went 7-for-50 (14.0 percent).
NEW YORK -- Players from the New York Rangers are expecting an emotional atmosphere for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).
The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1.
The Rangers will enter the game having lost three straight in the City of Brotherly Love, but are confident after closing out the 2013-14 regular season with a 25-14-2 record on the road. The team conducted an optional practice on Monday that included four defensemen, seven forwards and goalie Cam Talbot, prior to leaving for Philadelphia.
"It's an energetic arena to play in for sure, and they feed off of that, so you want to play a simple game," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You can't be afraid to take an icing, take a whistle here or there to keep the game on your side and keep up the pace. If you get the momentum you have to try to hang onto it, you have to be disciplined too. Their fans will be feeding off their physicality, and you can't buy into it or get caught up in it. That's something we've done all season so far."
VOORHEES, NJ --Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason ruled himself out of Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).
Ray Emery, who made 31 saves in a Game 2 win Sunday and has a .913 save percentage for the series, will start, with rookie Calvin Heeter as his backup.
Mason, who is listed by the team as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated for about 45 minutes Monday, on his own and as part of the team's optional practice. He said he felt better but not well enough to dress for Game 3.
"You know how you feel when you're done practice," he said. "I feel good with the goaltending part of the practice, but there's other things that are affecting the decision."
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers were able to win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers with a penalty kill followed by two power-play goals 47 seconds apart.
Heading into Game 2 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS), the Rangers know that continuing that success on special teams would likely swing the best-of-7 series in their favor.
Following a successful kill of Ryan McDonagh's high-sticking penalty early in the third period, New York scored twice after Philadelphia forward Jason Akeson was assessed a four-minute penalty for a high stick. The sequence decided the 4-1 win.
"You look at all the series right now, power play and penalty killing are always big deciders of momentum during the game," New York coach Alain Vigneault said after practice Saturday. "The last game, our penalty kill gave us that big kill at the beginning of the third against a really good power play and then our power play was able to get us those two quick goals."
Mason participated in a full practice Saturday but hunched over repeatedly near the end of the skate and appeared to be experiencing some discomfort.
"For the most part, I felt pretty solid. I'm getting better every day but I won't be playing tomorrow," Mason said. "With the last 10 minutes in practice, what's bothering me wasn't feeling very good. We decided we need to give it more time before I get back in there."
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- By the time some New York Rangers assembled for an optional skate Friday, they had already forgotten about their 4-1 win Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Rangers are looking ahead to Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series, which they'll host Sunday at Madison Square Garden (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).
"It's a good first step. It's only one step," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We know that our opponent on Sunday morning is going to be ready. We're going to need to be prepared and we're going to need to be better. We're very aware of that."
NEW YORK --Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was on the ice with teammates at an optional practice Friday but his availability for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Sunday (Noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS) remains unknown.
Mason has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and his hour-long session Friday was the first time he skated with teammates since Tuesday.
"Felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple days," Mason said. "It was a good step."
NEW YORK -- The Philadelphia Flyers have lived up to their billing as the Broad Street Bullies for decades. As the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, what exactly is the identity of the New York Rangers, who the Flyers meet Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) at Madison Square Garden?
Alain Vigneault has reshaped that identity since replacing John Tortorella as coach last summer, turning the Rangers into a team reliant on depth and chemistry at every position. That refusal to alter his lines and insistence on rolling four forward combinations and six defensemen keyed New York's run to the postseason and could be the difference against Philadelphia.
"That was the game plan in an Olympic year with having the Olympians go and the tightened schedule, especially down the stretch in March," forward Brad Richards said. "There was a reason why we were able to play good hockey, and I think that everybody was spread out and had responsibilities and we weren't [running] on fumes coming in."
NEW YORK -- Growing up in Austria, Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl said he tried to follow the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but with the time difference it was difficult. His teammate, forward Jason Akeson, had easier access to the NHL as a child in Ottawa.
On Thursday they will find out what the NHL postseason is really like when the Flyers face the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG).
"It's great," Raffl said. "I feel like a child before Christmas. Just want to get out there."
Raffl had 68 regular-season games to acclimate himself to life and hockey in North America, but said he's sensed things have changed now that the postseason has started.
"You feel it," he said. "It's something special, like a new season starting."
With Game 1 of the First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have the advantage of having the last change.
Said Hartnell on what he's learned from four regular-season games against McDonagh and Girardi: "How good they are, especially here."
In four games against the Flyers this season, McDonagh had one goal, one assist and a plus-2 rating, while Girardi had no points and an even plus/minus rating.
"We have to get it behind them, make them go 200 feet, be physical on them every chance you get," Hartnell said. "In a seven-game series that's wear and tear on them. If we're not turning pucks over, especially our line, against those two guys we'll be fairly effective."
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers admitted they were already feeling the emotions that typically come with the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But it's reigning in those emotions that could prove key as they open their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).
With intensity running high in the postseason, avoiding costly penalties is imperative to any team's success. It could be especially true against the Flyers, who led the NHL in penalty minutes this season.
If their previous games are any indication, the first Flyers-Rangers playoff series in 17 years should be a physical affair. In their four regular-season games, New York and Philadelphia combined for 231 penalty minutes. Former Flyer and current Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo drew 27 penalty minutes in two games.
Mason was ruled out of Game 1 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round series Thursday against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) due to an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 2 is Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN, RDS).
"He is doing better [Thursday] and he'll be joining the hockey team," Berube said.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To a man, the New York Rangers are looking forward to their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN), defenseman Marc Staal may be itching for the opening faceoff just a little more than his teammates.
It's been some time since he last enjoyed a playoff run.
This time last year, Staal was forced to watch the Rangers in the playoffs as he recovered from an eye injury. He missed two months before returning for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals. After logging 17:17 of ice time, he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the postseason. Just over two weeks later, New York was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.
Entering this season's playoffs fully healthy and at the top of his game, Staal admits Game 1 can't come fast enough.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. --New York Rangers center Derick Brassard declared himself healthy and ready to go for their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round takes place Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN) at Madison Square Garden.
Brassard participated in practice with the Rangers on Wednesday and left early. His status came into question Tuesday when he left New York's skate with a back injury.
"I felt good today. I could have skated for the whole practice, it was just for precautions," Brassard said. "I feel 100 percent for tomorrow."
Starting goaltender Steve Mason is out with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He remains listed as day-to-day. Flyers coach Craig Berube said Mason will not travel with the team to New York on Wednesday afternoon and instead stay behind to receive treatment.
Berube said Tuesday he expected Mason to join the Flyers for practice Wednesday but Mason never made it to the facility. Mason was on the ice for about 40 minutes Tuesday, but most of that time was spent doing individual work with goalie coach Jeff Reese. Mason spent about 15 minutes with the full team.
"[Mason] just didn't feel good," Berube said Wednesday. "It's precautionary. We're doing what we can to help him do what's best. ... He's a day-to-day thing. Not ready to go. That's it. He's not ready to go, so he's not playing."
New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard left practice early Tuesday limping and holding his lower back, apparently sustaining the injury while the Rangers did special teams work in preparation for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Coach Alain Vigneault did not offer any specifics, but believes Brassard will play Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; TSN, CNBC).
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Jason Akeson was hoping all season he would get the call, the one that would summon the 23-year-old from the American Hockey League to the Philadelphia Flyers.
But as the days left in the regular season wound down, he gave it less and less of a chance of it happening.
A week later, Akeson finds himself on the cusp of starting his first Stanley Cup Playoff game when the Flyers open the Eastern Conference First Round at the New York Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).
"A couple weeks ago if you asked me I never would have told you I'd be here," Akeson said after practice Tuesday. "So it's pretty special."
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason joined the team for practice Tuesday as it prepares for its Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers, but the Flyers remain unsure if their top goaltender will be available for the start of the postseason.
Mason sustained an upper-body injury with 2:33 left in the second period Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins when teammate Andrew MacDonald was pushed into him by Penguins forward Jayson Megna. Mason played the remainder of the period but Ray Emery came on in relief to start the third.
"I feel better each day and we'll see how I feel [Wednesday]," Mason said via the Flyers public relations department. He opted not to speak to the media after practice.
Holmgren said the Flyers will determine Tuesday if Mason can return to practice that day. The Flyers open the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN) at Madison Square Garden.
Mason sustained an upper-body injury Saturday in a collision with Pittsburgh forward Jayson Megna with 3:33 left in the second period. Mason, who made 21 saves on 22 shots to that point, remained in net for the rest of the period but was replaced by Ray Emery to start the third. Mason was scratched from the lineup Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes with an upper-body injury.
It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.
— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness