Practice Report: Focus Shifts to Game 5, Power Play

By Matt Calamia

About 15 hours after the Rangers admittedly let an opportunity to take a commanding lead in their best-of-seven series against the Flyers slip away, the focus was shifted from the disappointment to looking ahead to Game 5 Sunday afternoon back at Madison Square Garden for Game 5.

“It’s gone now,” Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist emphatically told reporters following the team’s optional skate at the Garden Saturday afternoon. Lundqvist said there was disappointment and a lot of replaying of the game in his mind on the trip home from Philadelphia following Game 4, but that “you let it go. Now today it was all about getting the energy back and focusing on tomorrow.”

The skate was heavily attended with just a handful of players opting not to skate, including Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh.

“We let an opportunity slip away,” said Brian Boyle, who picked up his second assist in as many games on Dominic Moore’s first period goal Friday night. “I don’t think there’s any easy road to advancing, but if you have an opportunity to kind of take a commanding lead like that, you really have to focus on accomplishing that.

“There’s no easy road,” Boyle added, “but if you can avoid unnecessary challenges, that would be beneficial.”

This is familiar territory for the Rangers, who have lost four consecutive Game 4s when leading 2-1 dating back to 2012 against the Ottawa Senators. Lundqvist has been in net for all of those games, and he said players cannot get ahead of themselves thinking about what could happen following the game.

“You try not to think too much about the consequences right now,” Lundqvist said. “You just try and focus on your game and what you have to do and enjoy it and tell yourself it’s fun, because it is when you’re winning. You just have to make sure you do whatever you can to focus on your game, and then the consequences, hopefully, they will be good and you’ll have a good result.”

With the series now into its later stages, the intensity from both teams is expected to be kicked up a notch as desperation begins to settle in.

“Every game you go into a series, [the urgency] gets upped and upped,” Richards said. “The teams that win Cups are the ones that have that urgency all the time.

“I don’t think we went out there and laid an egg last night … but we didn’t win,” Richards added. “It’s not good enough. We’re right back tomorrow at noon. We don’t have too much time to think about it, which is good.”

The after scoring power play goals in the first two games of the series, the Rangers have been shutout over the last two, including on four opportunities in last game.

“We didn’t get the job done [in Game 4],” said Derick Brassard, who finished the night with 3:24 of ice time with the man advantage. “We just need to move the puck faster. We need to shoot and sometimes when you shoot, a rebound is going to be there and that’s how we’re going to score goals. Obviously, it needs to be better.”

Head coach Alain Vigneault said it’s just about getting the puck into the net.

“It’s just a matter of execution,” Vigneault said. “[If] our execution gets better and we’ll have better looks. It’s more about how were moving the puck than anything else. We had a good meeting about it today and I’m confident the power play will be effective.”

Forward Chris Kreider skated with associate coach Scott Arniel prior to the team’s practice. There was no update on his condition and he remains sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury.