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Rangers need to improve PP as series returns to MSG for Game 5

Claude Giroux and Mark Streit of the Philadelphia

Claude Giroux and Mark Streit of the Philadelphia Flyers combine to stop Martin St. Louis of the Rangers during the first period in Game 4 of the first round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2014 in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

In the land of missed opportunities called Rangertown, Sunday afternoon offers another chance to climb over a fence built on Broad Street.

From a distance, the fence seems twisted and rickety, with some chain links missing. But the Rangers have not been able to scale it. Their jackets and jeans keep getting snagged.

It's been one step up, one step back for the Blueshirts, who are tied 2-2 with the Flyers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. It's a situation that could have been averted with a save here, a power-play goal there.

They win one, then lose one, rinse, repeat. Now the line in the sand has been drawn for Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, the beginning of what has, not unexpectedly, turned into a best-of-three series.

So the Rangers went back to work, specifically off-ice, on the power play, which is 1-for-17.

"We've been meeting on that all morning," Brad Richards said. "We've definitely got to get some different looks. They're a different team PK-ing than they were the first game. The lanes are a lot different. Now it's our turn to up that and make them adjust again."

The 0-for-4 showing in eight minutes during the 2-1 loss in Game 3 was the key talking point. "It's just a matter of execution," coach Alain Vigneault said. "It's more about how we're moving the puck than anything right now. We had a good meeting on it and I'm confident the power play will be effective. Teams are very aggressive on their killing. It's a matter of good puck support and good puck movement, and when you get an opportunity in the lane to shoot the puck, you do it."

Derick Brassard, who skated in an optional practice Saturday that was attended by all but six Rangers -- those focusing on the power play -- said that with the man-advantage, "we just need to move the puck faster, we need to shoot, because the rebounds are going to be there. The effort is there. It's just a matter of getting to those rebounds in the dirty areas."

On Sunday they again will face goaltender Steve Mason, who made 37 saves in his playoff debut in Game 4 in Philadelphia. "We need to make it a little more challenging for him," said Vigneault, who reported that the players who didn't skate, including Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Martin St. Louis, are healthy. "Both [he and Ray Emery] move the puck well. Mason's a little more forceful."

Players said the disappointment had passed and were pleased about the quick turnaround. "I don't think we went out and laid an egg, but we didn't win, and that's not good enough," Richards said. "We don't have that much time to think about it, so that's good."

For the Rangers, this series will be the seventh in the last 11 to go at least six games.

"I don't think there's any easy road to advancing," Brian Boyle said. "But if you have an opportunity, you really have to focus on accomplishing that. They were desperate, backs-against-the-wall. We've been up and down in this series. It's a pivotal game . . . When we're at home, we've got to take advantage of that."

New York Sports