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Rangers learned from mistakes, rebounded in Game 3

by Tal Pinchevsky

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."

The Rangers had a day off Wednesday after blocking 28 shots in Game 3, almost equaling the 29 blocks they had in the first two games combined and more than twice their regular-season average of 13.6 per game. New York outshot Philadelphia 17-9 in the second period of Game 2 only to fall behind 3-2. In Game 3, it was Philadelphia that controlled the pace, outshooting New York 13-4 and taking 14 shots that were blocked.

The Rangers got a second-period goal from defenseman Dan Girardi to take a two-goal lead.

"To get that initial goal to make it 3-1 in the second period was big. Our penalty kill did a good job and our goaltender did a good job. From there, we were able to find a way to take it home and win the game," Vigneault said. "Every team that is in the playoffs is trying to learn from their different games. We learned from [Game 2] and we tried to bring it to Game 3. Now our sole focus is on the next game coming up on Friday."

Vigneault said there was no update on the condition of forward Chris Kreider, who remains out indefinitely following hand surgery March 28 and will not skate Thursday.

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