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Strong special teams remain crucial for Flyers
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They scored on the power play and it turned out to be the game-winner.

At the same time, they shut down the Rangers on four power-play chances.

Despite losing a defenseman before the mid-point, the Flyers sucked it up and won the battle of special teams Friday night with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Game 4 of the Metropolitan Division semifinals.

Game 5 is Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The challenge was replacing shot-blocking extraordinaire Nick Grossmann on defense -- a guy who is averaging 2:26 of shorthanded ice time in this series -- and it forced the Flyers to go with five defensemen the rest of the game.

“You don’t want to see anyone going down, but everyone has to pick up the slack for him,” Mark Streit said of Grossmann. “I think we did a pretty good job going back and digging pucks out. The forwards worked a little harder as well. It was a combination of both.”

The Flyers killed a 4-on-3 power play late in the second period that carried over into the third period.

“They did a great job,” goalie Steve Mason said. “We just touched on it with the blocks and the shots and then the guys picking up the slack after we lost Grossmann.

“You know that’s a big loss. The guy logs a lot of minutes, blocks a lot of shots and the guys picked up great where he would have left off. Those are the types of efforts that you need to be successful.”

Braydon Coburn had a monster game with 25:27 total ice time. He played 6:13 of the game while his team was shorthanded.

“I’ve always said our best penalty killer is our goalie, and he was fantastic,” Coburn said, moving the compliment back to Mason.

Coburn shut down Rick Nash, who felt the game-changer was the Flyers successfully killing the 4-on-3 power play.

“I don’t know exactly what it was,” Nash said. “We’ll have to watch it on video, but I can say it was definitely a game breaker. It was the deciding factor in the game. They scored on their power play and we couldn’t get the job done on ours.”

Mason made the game-changing sprawling save on Ryan McDonagh, who was hooked by Matt Read resulting in the 4 on 3. The Flyers were clinging to a 2-1 lead when that happened. McDonagh said the Rangers failing to take advantage of that power-play opportunity doomed them.

“Sometimes you get thinking a little bit too much,” he said. “Trying to look for a pretty play. I don’t think we established the shot like we talked about. But we had some pretty good looks.

“I think the biggest thing was we didn’t get to second and third opportunities on Mason and didn’t make his first game back too tough as far as traffic and screening.”

Wayne Simmonds said there was total commitment on the forward’s part to be involved on doing to the Rangers what they did to the Flyers in Game 3 -- block shots. The Flyers had 14 in the game.

“It was key,” Simmonds said. “I think we wanted to get a lot of blocked shots ourselves and get sticks in the lanes and not allow them to do their cross-ice plays.

“They like to carry the puck into the zone and delay a little, hit with the fourth or fifth guy coming up, and I thought we did a good job in preventing them from doing that.”

Offensively, the Flyers changed their setup and strategy on the power play, which is now tied for third-best in the playoffs (3 for 11).

“We moved the puck well, we were patient,” Streit said. “We didn’t take the shot right away. We moved it around, we faked it a few times.

“I remember the first period, Vinny [Lecavalier] had a good chance because we moved it. We can build on that. we have so much potential on the power play. We looked at video and I think we’re going in the right direction.”

Voracek’s power-play goal at 7:22 of the second period -- the game-winner -- saw a brilliant tip off Brayden Schenn’s shot in the slot.

“I think we moved the puck a little bit better,” Voracek said. “We had a couple good looks there and how many power plays did we have? Two? Fifty percent isn’t bad.”

No, it’s not.