Score: Rangers 4, Flyers 1

How it happened: A critical 4-minute high-sticking penalty by rookie Jason Akeson allowed the Rangers to score the winning goals midway through the third period.

What it means: The Rangers take a 1-0 series lead and the Flyers get to carry around a nine-game Madison Square Garden losing streak for a few more days.

Heroes: Brad Richards scored the game-winning goal and assisted on the Rangers' other goal on the 4-minute power-play. He had three points on the night. Henrik Lundqvist made 14 saves, but was hardly tested in the second half of the game.

Goat: Jason Akeson committed the penalty on Carl Hagelin, but the Flyers struggled to keep up with the Rangers all night.

Towel, please: You knew this was the postseason when national anthem singer John Amirante pulled out a rally towel in the middle of the song. The crowd, of course, went wild.

How'd Emery do?: Ray Emery was shaky early, settled down and got very little help when the Rangers smelled blood in the third period.

Name game: Rangers forward Jesper Fast became the first player named "Jesper" to play in an NHL playoff game. If Flyers forward Tye McGinn ever gets into the lineup, he'd have a similar distinction. McGinn was a healthy scratch last night, as Michael Raffl returned to the lineup.

Stat to note: About 70 percent of Game 1 winners go on to take the series (417 of 607 playoff series all-time).

Up next: Game 2 is Sunday at noon on NBC. The Flyers were 10-5-4 in day games during the season. The noon start will be their second-earliest. They edged Winnipeg, 2-1, the day after Thanksgiving in a game that started at 11:30 a.m. Game 5 of this series, next Sunday, April 27, also is a noon start.

Did you know: The Flyers are now 3-0 at MSG when Claude Giroux scores a goal and 1-13 when he does not.

Three stars: 1. Brad Richards: Led the way with three points. 2. Martin St. Louis: What is this Tampa, 2004? Somebody oughta invite Vinny Lecavalier. 3. Carl Hagelin, Rangers: Scored a goal and was on the receiving end of a crucial high-sticking penalty that opened the flood gates.

- Ed Barkowitz