The Philadelphia Flyers, with two goals from defenseman Karl Dykhuis and another sharp performance from goaltender Ron Hextall, beat the New York Rangers 4-1 Friday night in New York to complete a stunning four-game playoff sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Flyers received contributions from just about everybody, including its notorious “Legion of Doom” line, as they knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs with surprising ease.
Friday night was just about a replica of Wednesday night’s Game 3, when the Flyers won 5-2 with an overpowering performance.
This time, the Rangers came out with more intensity, outshooting the Flyers 10-4 at the start. They still weren’t able to get one past Hextall, and the Flyers countered with two goals by Dykhuis, who equaled his season output with his two-goal first period.
Although the Rangers had a sub-par season with a 22-23-3 record, 13 points behind the Flyers’ Atlantic Division-leading total, they were expected to give Philadelphia more of a battle than they did in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers won two overtime games to open the series in Philadelphia before coming to New York and completely dominating the Rangers.
The last Stanley Cup champion to be swept in a playoff round the following year was the Flyers, who lost to the Montreal Canadiens in 1976. The Rangers, who had gone 54 years between Stanley Cups, hadn’t been swept in a playoff round since the Pittsburgh Penguins did it in 1989.
The Flyers earned a berth in the Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the series between the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hextall continued his strong performance in the playoffs with 31 saves. He has only allowed 22 goals on 265 shots while winning eight of nine games.
The Flyers received their other goals from Mikael Renberg, who plays on the “Legion of Doom” line with Eric Lindros and John LeClair, and Anatoli Semenov. Mark Osborne scored for the Rangers.
Dykhuis gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first period with his third and fourth goals of the playoffs.
The defenseman completed a textbook 2-on-1 rush with Rob DiMaio at 12:37.
Then he beat Glenn Healy with a blistering slap shot from the high slot at 17:08.
Philadelphia 2 2 0 - 4 N.Y.
Rangers 0 1 0 - 1
First period-1, Philadelphia, Dykhuis 3 (DiMaio, Dineen), 12:37. 2, Philadelphia, Dykhuis 4, 17:08 (pp).
Second period-3, Philadelphia, Renberg 3 (DiMaio, Haller), 12:29. 4, Philadelphia, Semenov 2 (Desjardins, Brind’Amour), 14:22. 5, New York, Osborne 1, (Larmer, Nemchinov), 19:21.
Shots on goal-Philadelphia 14-11-5-30. New York 14-11-7-32.Power-play opp.-Philadelphia 1 of 4; New York 0 of 2.Goalies-Philadelphia, Hextall 8-1 (32 shots-31 saves). New York, Healy 2-1 (30-26).A-18,200 (18,200).
Devils 2, Penguins 1 (OT)
East Rutherford, N.J.
Neal Broten scored his second goal of the game with 1:24 left in the first overtime to give New Jersey its victory over Pittsburgh and a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Devils can advance to the conference final for the second straight year by winning Sunday at Pittsburgh.
John MacLean set up the game-winner by skating down the right side, swinging around the net and then finding Broten all alone at the right corner against a defenseless Ken Wregget, who was spectacular while making 49 saves.
Ron Francis had Pittsburgh’s goal but he missed a rebound attempt with 11 minutes left in the overtime that could have evened the best-of-seven series.
Now the Penguins face the task of rebounding from a second 3-1 deficit. But instead of the Washington Capitals in the first round, they meet a team that has lost only twice in nine playoff games.
Pittsburgh 0 0 1 0 - 1
New Jersey 0 0 1 1 - 2
Third Period-1, New Jersey, Broten 2 (MacLean), :40. 2, Pittsburgh, Francis 6 (Jagr, K.Stevens), 8:57.
Overtime-3, New Jersey, Broten 3 (MacLean), 18:36.
Shots on goal-Pittsburgh 6-7-12-8-33. New Jersey 10-13-15-13-51.Power-play opp.-Pittsburgh 0 of 4; New Jersey 0 of 3.Goalies-Pittsburgh, Wregget 5-5 (51 shots-49 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 7-2 (33-32).A-19,040 (19,040).
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.