It is there for the taking. If the Rangers can win in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, they will advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"We want to get it done in their building," defenseman Marc Staal said after the Rangers beat the Flyers, 4-2, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. "We have to have the killer instinct to get in there and try to get a win."
And the Rangers have shown they can win on the road. With 25 victories in regulation on the road in the regular season, they led the East and were one behind Colorado for the NHL lead.
Staal scored the opening goal in Game 5 as the Rangers built a 3-0 lead before Vincent Lecavalier's deflected shot beat Henrik Lundqvist (24 saves) on a power play with 33 seconds left in the second period.
Flyers coach Craig Berube pulled goaltender Steve Mason with three minutes left and Claude Giroux scored his first of the series at 18:31 to make it 3-2, but Brian Boyle's empty-netter with 15 seconds left sealed it.
"We took back the advantage and we have to win one now," said Brad Richards, whose backhander beat Mason at 8:07 of the second period to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. "We were in control for most of the game. They got a little sneaky near the end."
Now the Rangers will try to end the series at Wells Fargo Center. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the winner of Game 5 of a 2-2 series has captured 180 of 227 best-of-sevens, a .793 winning percentage.
The Rangers almost took a two-goal lead before Richards' goal. At 2:14 of the second period, John Moore's shot trickled between Mason's legs into the crease and the puck was poked in by Martin St. Louis, but referee Justin St. Pierre had ruled the play dead and it was not reviewable. That infuriated the sellout crowd, and the derisive chants rained down.
"You have to play with emotions," said St. Louis, who set up Staal's wrister on the rush and leads the club with six points in the series, "but sometimes you have to keep it in check and not let the calls that don't go your way take you off your game."
While on the forecheck, Dominic Moore pushed the lead to 3-0. Moore scooped up a turnover by veteran defenseman Hal Gill, skated in alone and beat Mason to the glove side at 16:20.
Moore added an assist on Boyle's clinching goal.
For the Rangers, the contributions came from unexpected places. In his first NHL playoff game, J.T. Miller, who replaced Dan Carcillo and got the primary assist on Richards' goal, played a spirited 10:22.
Moore and Boyle also were key elements of the Rangers' penalty kill, which negated Carl Hagelin's two penalties in the first period and two other man-advantage situations in the second before Lecavalier's goal.
"If our power play executes better in the first period, it might be a different game," Berube said.
Said Lundqvist, "The penalty kill was really good today and we are going to need it."
The Flyers, however, are ready to make a stand Tuesday night, and a Philadelphia victory would force a Game 7 at the Garden on Wednesday night.
"We're not looking at it like it's the last game of our season," Giroux said. "We've come back all season when it matters."