After missing two weeks with an injured shoulder, Ryan McDonagh was rusty and had a troublesome first period.
"I was not myself, not making good plays with the puck, turning it over, not moving my feet," the defenseman said. "You get a little nervous. They were coming hard."
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Indeed, the Flyers scored when McDonagh was hammered by Scott Hartnell, who took the puck and started the play that led to a 1-0 lead at 7:28.
But McDonagh, who played 22:42, settled down after Mats Zuccarello's goal tied it at 10:55. "Zukie helped me with that big response,'' he said. "I'm just glad I was able to find my game a little bit in the second and third."
Coach Alain Vigneault, who decided to give McDonagh an extra game to rest by not playing him in the season finale against the Canadiens last Saturday, even though McDonagh asked to play, could laugh about it after Game 1.
"I feel I should have played him at the beginning in Montreal," Vigneault said. "He got better. He found his hands and found his rhythm. He had been out for a couple weeks, so that's normal. He got more confident and he's only going to get better as we move forward."
Rangers fans in Philly
An unusually large number of Rangers fans are expected to attend Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia. According to SeatGeek, which tracks tickets resold on the secondary market, 32 percent of ticket-buyers for the games at Wells Fargo Center are from the New York metropolitan area. Only 4 percent of ticket-buyers for Game 1 and 2 are from the Philly metro area. That's because, SeatGeek reports, the average price of Game 1 and 2 tickets is $248.51; Games 3 and 4 average $131.35.
The last time the Rangers beat the Flyers in a playoff game was April 12, 1987 . . . The Rangers have won 10 of the last 14 playoff series openers at home . . . In his first NHL playoff game, Jesper Fast assisted on Hagelin's goal.