Rangers Blitz Flyers Early, Clinch Top Seed in Eastern Conference

Written by Mike Salerno on .

The Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period and held on to clinch the Atlantic Division title and the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 victory over the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

The win clinched the Eastern Conference for New York (51-22-7) and gave them a momentary two-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks in the Presidents’ Trophy race. The Rangers also swept the season series against Philadelphia for the second time in the teams' history.

New York got goals from Ryan McDonagh, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov and Ryan Callahan as they opened up a wide margin as the teams skated off after one period. After Jakub Voracek’s third-chance attempt banked off Marc Staal’s skate and past Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik extended the Rangers lead back to four with a blistering wrist shot from 15 feet that beat Ilya Bryzgalov to the glove side.

Bryzgalov returned to the Flyers (46-25-9) lineup after missing three games with a chipped bone in his foot and got little help from his mates early on. Two of the Rangers four first period markers came on the power play, including goals by Boyle and Callahan, which came on rebounds of initial shots.

Philadelphia closed within two goals after Andreas Lilja scored his first of the season midway through the third period, but the Flyers were unable to solve Lundqvist again. The Rangers netminder made 38 saves for his 39th victory of the season.

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