NEW YORK - After being pushed around in the third period of their previous eight games, the Flyers finally pushed back.
Just at the right time.
They didn't go into a defensive shell, didn't spend the third period buried in their own end, and they finished off a critical 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.
"We were being active in the third period; we didn't back up," winger Jake Voracek said after the Flyers evened the series at one game apiece. "We didn't let them skate at us with full speed. I think we were pretty good on the forecheck, and we kept [putting] on the pressure."
"I think the first shift of the third period really set the tone," coach Craig Berube said. "They got it in deep right away, put some pucks on the net, and stayed in an attack mentality - and I think the rest of the team fed off that. We didn't sit back. We tried to make it a two-goal deficit."
In Game 1, the Flyers were outscored, 3-0, and outshot, 13-1, in the final period. That meant they had been outscored in the third period, 17-5, in their last eight games before Sunday.
The Flyers had an 8-7 shots edge Sunday in a third period that included just one goal, an empty-netter by the visitors.
"We knew we could play some solid third-period hockey," Sean Couturier said, pointing to several late comeback wins this season. "We just had to do it."
The Flyers fell into a two-goal first-period hole, but they weren't alarmed.
"We had better jump than we did Thursday," said Voracek, who turned around the game when he cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the first period. "We were down, 2-0, but you could see we were skating better, we were hitting better, we were playing our positioning better. We knew if we stuck with the game plan, we would turn the game around."
Steve Mason, making a recovery from an undisclosed upper-body injury, skated Sunday and will skate Monday if he feels well, Berube said. The Flyers will hold an optional practice in Voorhees. . . . In the first two games, the Rangers have outshot the Flyers, 69-40. Berube: "I still think we can shoot more, but we had the puck more" than in Game 1. . . . Eleven Flyers had one point Sunday, helping them win at MSG for the first time since Feb. 20, 2011. . . . New York is 3 for 12 on the power play in the series, while the Flyers are 2 for 4, including an empty-net goal. . . . The Flyers are 30-7 in series when they win Game 2, and 8-23 when losing the second game.