Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rangers Wrap Up East Title with Win First Top Seed since 1994 after Win vs. Flyers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rangers Wrap Up East Title with Win First Top Seed since 1994 after Win vs. Flyers

Article excerpt

Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov scored as part of a four-goal first period, and the visiting New York Rangers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 1994 with a 5-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Rangers are tops in the East for the first time since Mark Messier led them to their previous Stanley Cup championship 18 years ago. The Rangers, who lead the overall NHL standings with 109 points, are assured of home-ice advantage until at least the Stanley Cup finals.

The Rangers are atop the East thanks to a stunning series sweep of the Atlantic Division-rival Flyers. They went 6-0 against Philadelphia for the first time in 40 years.

"I love this, what a season," said Rangers forward Brad Richards, considered the biggest prize in the free-agent market last summer. "This is a great time of year. Yes, it's going to be a grind, it always is, but we have a good team here, and we have the right pieces in place. It's up to us."

Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle also scored to help the Rangers storm to a 4-0 lead. Marian Gaborik added his 41st goal, and Henrik Lundqvist earned his career-best 39th victory.

Lundqvist solidified his Vezina Trophy credentials with 37 saves. In the locker room, he had his right arm wrapped in ice and was hurting. He said he had trouble keeping a hold of his stick late in the game after being struck by a shot late in the second period.

"There were times where I wanted to say, 'I'm outta here.' But I got through it," he said "We'll see how it is in a couple of days, see how it feels. Hopefully, I'll be ready to go, but it was tough."

It was Rangers defenseman Marc Staal who knocked the puck past Lundqvist for the first Philadelphia goal. Staal kicked the puck with his left skate under Lundqvist's right leg in the second to make it 4-1. Jakub Voracek got credit for the goal.

Lundqvist solidified his Vezina Trophy credentials, however, with 37 saves.

Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov was a sparkling 10-2-1 in March and chosen as the NHL's first star, but he had sat out the previous three games because of a chip fracture in his right foot. …

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