Last fall, when he returned as a free agent to the Rangers -- the team that drafted him in 2000 -- 33-year-old Dominic Moore spoke a lot about two things: How deeply he appreciated the support from players around the league after the death of his wife Katie (she died in January 2013 after a battle with liver cancer), and how much he missed the NHL and the playoffs.
In the postseason, Moore has always raised his game, and this series has been no exception. Forechecking hard as usual, Moore scored the third goal, the eventual game-winner, Sunday and assisted on linemate Brian Boyle's empty-netter that locked up the Rangers' 4-2 win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series against the Flyers.
Moore, who also beat Steve Mason on a first-period wraparound in Game 4 in Philadelphia, has nine goals in 48 career postseason games. He is tied for the team lead in goals and is fifth in points. On Sunday, in 12:36 of ice time, he won six of seven faceoffs, and has won 62.5 percent in five games. Moore is the type of role player who is essential to winning in the playoffs.
"The puck was bouncing a little bit on them [the Flyers' defensemen], so you want to put pressure on them. It was a fortunate bounce," Moore said of his goal at 16:20 of the second period. "There's breaks that go back and forth throughout the game. It's a game of luck sometimes."
Life has not been lucky for Moore, who had left hockey to care for Katie in June 2012 and in this, his 13th season, primarily centered the Blueshirts' fourth line and killed penalties in 73 games. He scored six goals and 18 points.
"I enjoy this time of year, but I approach every game the same way," said Moore, who was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for dedication to the sport in an overwhelming vote by the New York media.
The Rangers have allowed fewer than 30 shots in four of the five games . . . Eleven Rangers have scored in the series.