PHILADELPHIA -- Once again, the New York Rangers allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to even up the series, as they fell 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center on Friday in Game 4 despite taking an early first-period lead.
Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was stellar in his first start of the series, making 37 saves to record the first playoff win of his career in his first postseason start in five years.
Mason missed the first two games of the series because of an upper-body injury, and received limited time in a surprise relief appearance for Ray Emery in Game 3 on Tuesday. His superb play puts to rest any possibility of a goalie controversy moving forward, as he proved himself more than capable of handling the job.
The series, tied at two games apiece, now shifts back to New York for Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Power surge: A Flyers power-play that was largely ineffective through the first three games of the series came to life Friday night with what looked to be an increased emphasis on puck movement and creating shooting lanes. First-line winger Jake Voracek snapped a 1-1 draw with his expert tip of Brayden Schenn's shot that gave the Flyers their first man-up marker at home this series. The Flyers were held without a goal in five power-play opportunities against the Rangers in Game 3 but vowed to make changes to the unit.
Down on D: The Flyers were forced to play with only five defensemen for the latter half of play after Nicklas Grossmann left the game during the second period with what appeared to be a right leg injury. The veteran blue-liner took a hard spill in the corner, where he seemed to catch his right foot before tumbling to the ice. He skated off the ice with help, favoring his right leg, and went immediately to the dressing room. He did not return to the game. Should Grossmann be unavailable Sunday for Game 5, the Flyers have hulking defenseman Hal Gill waiting in the wings. Gill has been scratched the first four games of the series.
Early action: The Rangers made sure to pressure Mason early, considering the 25-year-old netminder was making his first start in almost two weeks after suffering an upper-body injury in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 12. Mason's first stop of the night, to deny Mats Zuccarello at the doorstep on the Rangers' second shift of the game, was one of his most difficult. And the Rangers didn't relent from there. Fourth-liner Dominic Moore got the Rangers on the board first, emerging from the penalty box to bury his own rebound with a wraparound 4:38 into play. The Flyers were lucky to escape the opening frame tied 1-1 considering the Rangers won the territorial battle by a wide margin, outshooting the Flyers 16-6.
Playing the villain: Daniel Carcillo, who sealed Game 3 with his third-period goal then celebrated with a staredown aimed at a hostile Flyers crowd, was on the receiving end of more vitriol Friday. After mixing it up in a post-whistle scrum in the third period, the fans erupted into a vulgar chant directed toward the former Flyer.