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Rangers try to string together wins, eliminate Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale

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."

Flyers coach Craig Berube couldn't pinpoint why one team hasn't won back-to-back games.

"They're two equal teams in my opinion," Berube said. "They're close. It's been back-and-forth. I don't really know the answer to that, but our mindset [on Tuesday] is to come out hard early in the game and impose our will on them."

In 1974, the Flyers won a best-of-7 League semifinal series on a Game 7 win in Philadelphia. In 1986, the Rangers took a best-of-5 divisional semifinal round decision following a Game 5 victory in Philadelphia.

The Rangers have advanced in 13 of 15 playoff series all-time after grabbing a 3-2 lead through five games. The only losses occurred in the 1950 Stanley Cup Final to the Detroit Red Wings and the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinal to the Washington Capitals.

"Did I think we were going to go four straight? You'd like to think you can, but it's a hard thing to do," Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis said. "It's hard to string wins because it's two teams trying to win; you're playing an opponent that's trying to do the same thing as you. Sometimes you need bounces and you have to work for them, and special teams are a key."

In the 15 playoff series in franchise history in which the Rangers have led a series 3-2, they've posted a 10-5 record in Game 6.

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said that rather than a game-to-game approach, teams are more likely to focus shift-to-shift or period-to-period in the playoffs.

"You want to take advantage of certain situations within a game," Staal said. "You want to grab the momentum when you can and run with it. It's a big part of playing within the game, and we need to try and find that [on Tuesday]. We need to grab the momentum as much as we can."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - J.T. Miller

Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Jesper Fast, Daniel Carcillo, Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk, Ryan Haggerty

Injured: Chris Kreider (hand)


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds

Jason Akeson - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit - Erik Gustafsson

Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Tye McGinn, Hal Gill

Injured: Steve Downie (upper body), Nicklas Grossmann (lower body)

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