Hockey / Sports

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason makes a save in the third period against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday, April 25, 2014. The Flyers won, 2-1, to tie the series. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/MCT)

Akeson a pleasant surprise for Flyers against Rangers

PHILADELPHIA -- During the Flyers' wins in this opening Stanley Cup playoff series with the New York Rangers, now tied at two games apiece, some of the biggest plays have been made by two forwards, one expected and one who continues to be a surprise.

Jake Voracek was third on the team with 23 goals, so his success vs. the Rangers is no surprise. Jason Akeson, meanwhile, played one regular-season game, so few expected him to have such an impact.

Voracek broke a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the series, and Akeson added an assist on the first goal and an unofficial one on the second as the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers, 2-1, on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.

The series will resume with Game 5 at noon on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

In the Flyers' first win, a 4-2 victory in Game 2, it was Voracek who scored the Flyers' first goal and Akeson the second after the Rangers had jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Voracek is on the Flyers' top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, and that group has seen a lot of the Rangers' top defensive duo of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.

"I feel good," Voracek said when asked about his play this series. "It is very physical to play against McDonagh and Girardi. They are very good defensemen and don't give you much, and you have to work for everything."

Akeson set up the first goal, when he shot a puck off defenseman's Kevin Klein's leg that went off the boards to Matt Read, who deposited his first goal of this postseason.

"At first I was going for net, but the lane was kind of not there, so I kind of went short side, and it luckily it bounced to Reader," Akeson said.

Voracek broke a 1-1 tie by tipping in a Brayden Schenn drive on a power-play goal with 12 minutes, 38 seconds left in the second period.

"I thought we moved the puck a little better and had a couple of good looks," Voracek said.

It was actually Akeson who literally kick-started the play. Facing pressure, he kicked the puck to teammate Mark Streit at the point, who passed to Schenn, leading to the goal.

It was yet another of the heads-up plays that Akeson has been impressing his teammates with this postseason.

"He is smart with the puck and makes plays sometimes, and everybody on the bench looks at each other and says, 'Where did that come from,' and he is really talented," Giroux said.

Akeson said he plays with confidence but admitted to being surprised by the events of this postseason.

When asked if he could have imagined this, he replied: "No, that's for sure. It's is a little crazy, but I am enjoying the ride."

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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