Rangers vs. Flyers, Game 7 preview: New York, Philly battle for right to face Penguins

Bruce Bennett

The Flyers and Rangers battle one final time in Game 7 on Wednesday night, with the winner moving on to face the Penguins in Round 2.

SB Nation 2014 NHL Playoff Bracket

Less than 24 hours after the end of Game 6 in Philadelphia, the Flyers and Rangers are 90 miles north on the New Jersey Turnpike at Madison Square Garden, where they'll face off in a do-or-die Game 7. The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Second Round to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, while the loser will go home for the summer.

The Flyers probably have the momentum entering the game, if you're into that sort of thing, following a 5-2 victory in a must-win Game 6 on Tuesday night. Steve Mason was huge for the Flyers on Tuesday, especially in a first period where the Rangers came out flying and pressured the Flyers into submission. Mason's excellent play helped the Flyers escape that first 20 minutes with a lead, however, and from there Philly took control of the game.

For both the Rangers and Flyers, the key will be to put Game 6 behind them. Mason was phenomenal and the Flyers finally had an offensive attack that looked balanced for the first time in the series on Tuesday, but none of it matters heading into Game 7. The Rangers have been strong at Madison Square Garden in the series, especially at controlling play and dragging the Flyers out of position defensively, leading to prime scoring opportunities.

The game and the series might come down to special teams. The Flyers have blanked New York on their last 20 power play attempts, while Philadelphia has been a team that's ridden the roller coaster along with its power-play success. The Flyers won the special teams battle in each of their three wins in the series, while the Rangers blanked Philly's power play notably in their Game 5 win.

Simply put, both teams know they can beat the other, and it simply will come down to execution in a tightly-matched series and what should be a tightly-matched final game.

Flyers lineup

Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Scott Hartnell - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Jason Akeson
Zac Rinaldo - Vincent Lecavalier - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrew MacDonald - Mark Streit
Erik Gustafsson - Luke Schenn

Rangers lineup

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - J.T. Miller
Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
John Moore - Kevin Klein

***

Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers

Game 7, Eastern Conference First Round | Series tied, 3-3
7 p.m. ET | Madison Square Garden | Manhattan, N.Y.

Local TV: CSN Philadelphia | MSG (NY)
National TV: NBCSN (USA) | TSN2 (Canada)
Live online stream at NBCSports.com (USA) and TSN.ca (Canada)
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