Rangers' top line continues to bedevil Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers' Nicklas Grossmann, left, of Sweden, gets into a pushing match with New York Rangers' Daniel Carcillo during the first period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Philadelphia Flyers' Nicklas Grossmann, left, of Sweden, gets into a pushing match with New York Rangers' Daniel Carcillo during the first period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Posted: April 24, 2014

The Flyers' inability to stop the Rangers line of Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis, and Rick Nash has been a story line throughout their opening-round Stanley Cup playoff series. It definitely continued during the 4-1 loss to New York on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Rangers have regained home-ice advantage and take a two-games-to-one lead into Game 4 Friday in Philadelphia.

The trio has been difficult for the Flyers to contain, at even-strength and on the power play.

Stepan scored the first goal Tuesday, less than four minutes into the game, though it came on a gift from goalie Ray Emery.

Emery dropped a weak shot by Nash, and Stepan tapped in the rebound.

Six-and-a-half minutes later, St. Louis tipped in a Dan Girardi shot to increase the lead to 2-0.

"That is a good line, and after they scored the two goals tonight, we did a pretty good job on them," Flyers winger Jake Voracek said. "But it was a little too late. They got two goals, and we have to make sure we do a better job on Friday."

In three games against the Flyers, St. Louis has two goals, or one more than he had in 19 games for the Rangers after being traded from Tampa Bay on March 5. (He had one goal and seven assists in those 19 games.)

"You always want to be on top of your game," St. Louis said, "but it is a tough thing to do it consistently, and you have to work at it."

The adjustment to a new team has taken some time, said Rangers center Brad Richards, his former teammate in Tampa Bay. Richards said St. Louis was out of sorts while he got used to his new team.

That has changed in the postseason.

"Now, he feels he is part of it," Richards said. "It took a while to do it, but now he is talking more and getting to know the guys more."

St. Louis obviously is feeling more comfortable.

"I want to do anything I can to help the team win, making things happen with the puck," St. Louis said. "I am just trying to play a total game."

For the series, St. Louis has two goals and three assists. Stepan has added two goals and one assist, and Nash, who had two assists Tuesday, has yet to score but has four assists.

Much was made before the game of the Rangers' ability to win on the road, and while the players tried to downplay that fact, New York continued a season-long pattern.

The Rangers set a franchise record for road wins, going 25-14-2 away from Madison Square Garden, although two of the road losses were to the Flyers.

The Rangers were 23-8-2 in their last 33 road games, and they continued their stellar play away from home on Tuesday with a major assist from a line that has been unstoppable in this series.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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