NEW YORK - If the Flyers are going to win their first-round playoff matchup with the New York Rangers, they are going to have to get their top line untracked.
In the Rangers' 4-1 opening-game win Thursday, the Rangers primarily used the fourth line of Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and Derek Dorsett - and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi - to shut down Claude Giroux and his linemates, Scott Hartnell and Jake Voracek.
The Giroux line was pointless and combined for just two shots - both by Hartnell.
"They didn't do a good enough [job]," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "They didn't get shots on net, didn't get an attack. We had a power play in the third period and didn't get a shot."
After that squandered power play, the Rangers scored three unanswered goals - two with a man advantage - to pull away from a 1-1 tie.
Including the regular season, Giroux, Hartnell, and Voracek have combined for just one goal in five games against the Rangers.
"We need to have more composure with the puck," said Hartnell, one of the few Flyers forwards who played well Thursday. ". . . We haven't been in position to support each other . . . and win a lot of the battles. We've got to figure out a way to get some offensive zone pressure and keep it on."
"It was tough to sleep last night, knowing you lost Game 1 and it was right there going into the third period," he added. "But it's not going to kill us."
The Flyers managed just 15 shots, including one in the final period.
"That's almost a season low for us in probably the biggest game of the year," Hartnell said. "We have to get our focus and get our energy back."
During the third period, the Flyers have been outscored, 17-5, in their last eight games, including 3-0 Thursday. . . . Berube said the Flyers plan to skate the puck into the zone more and have fewer dump-ins Sunday. . . . The Rangers have outscored the Flyers, 35-10, while winning nine straight against them at Madison Square Garden. . . . There is a chance Chris VandeVelde is in the lineup Sunday and Jason Akeson, whose four-minute penalty led to two Rangers goals in the third, doesn't play. Tye McGinn was sent to the Phantoms.