STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: Rangers advance, get division rival Pens next
Daniel Carcillo sat on the sidelines for two games, waiting for his next chance to help the New York Rangers’ playoff drive.
Henrik Lundqvist began stewing on the bench after being pulled from the net following the Rangers’ thrashing at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Both players got their chance in Game 7 on Wednesday night, and both made the most of it.
Carcillo scored the first of New York’s two second-period goals, and Lundqvist made 26 saves about 24 hours after a rough night in Philadelphia to lift the Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Flyers.
The Rangers improved to 6-0 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden and now will face another Metropolitan Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the next round starting Friday.
In the victorious locker room, the Rangers were already starting to think about the division-winning Penguins, who knocked out Columbus in six games.
“Probably by midnight,” forward Brad Richards said when his focus will turn to the Penguins. “It’s hard to believe, but Philly is out of our minds pretty much. We’ve got to think about Pittsburgh.”
The Rangers got everything out of the home-ice advantage they held against Philadelphia, winning three of four at the Garden. Pittsburgh will have that edge in the second round.
“We’re battle-tested and we’re ready,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Philly is a real tough opponent. Moving forward, we know that we can play a real strong game at both ends of the rink. Pittsburgh is probably one of the best teams in the league. We’re going to have our hands full.”
Carcillo gave the Rangers the lead with the first of their two second-period goals, and Lundqvist did enough to hold off the Flyers.
Benoit Pouliot stretched the lead to 2-0 in the second period.
Lundqvist allowed only a third-period goal to Jason Akeson at 4:32.