While special teams have played a central role in the New York Rangers-Philadelphia Flyers Metropolitan Divisional matchup, goaltending has been a major factor as well.
For the Flyers, play in net has helped them win both Games 2 and 4.
Meanwhile, Steve Mason presents a different set of challenges for the Blueshirts than Ray Emery did. Mason possesses a right-handed catching glove that occasionally throws players for a loop. But the biggest difference has been his ability to play the puck. When the Rangers dump the puck on the PK or at five-on-five, the Mason has no problem using his stick to move the puck up the ice.
It is something the Ranger players have to be aware of heading into Philly on Tuesday, and for a possible Game 7.
The Rangers are heading into Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead, and have not won a playoff series in less than 7 games since 2008 vs. the New Jersey Devils.
Getting caught up in playing an intense series early in the postseason can wear a team down, and hamper their ability to make a long playoff run.
The Rangers learned that lesson the hard way in 2012. After playing a grueling seven game series with Ottawa and then Washington, they did not have much left in the tank for the Conference Finals vs. the Devils.
The Blueshirts possess a lot of the right ingredients to make a playoff run including a shutdown defensive pair, a couple of dynamic scorers, depth up front and an elite goaltender.
Without being greedy, the Rangers want to bury the Flyers Tuesday to get some rest before facing either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Columbus Blue Jackets in the Conference Semis.