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Rangers Will Remember Missed Chance, Conjuring Memories of Jeff Carter and Flyers

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Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers

Watching the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday brought me back to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.

If you’re a Flyers fan, you surely remember the Jeff Carter Chance that could have lifted his team into Game 7.

For those not aware of the circumstances, let me refresh your memory. The Flyers’ Scott Hartnell had dramatically tied Game 6 at a reverberating building then known as the Wachovia Center, poking a rebound into the net with 3:59 left in regulation.

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That made it 3-3 and the building’s eruption rivaled the roar heard at the Spectrum in 1987, when J.J. Daigneault’s late goal gave the Flyers a Game 6 win over Edmonton in the Finals, tying that series at 3-3.

After Hartnell’s memorable goal in 2010, the Flyers came in waves. They stormed the net, and in the final minute, Carter had a golden chance to win it. With goalie Antti Niemi flopped to the ice, Carter had a goal on his stick from point-blank range.

The fans were poised to create noise that would be heard in Gloucester.

Maybe even Cape May.

But Carter couldn’t get enough lift on his shot, and Niemi made the save.

You know the rest. Patrick Kane beat Michael Leighton in overtime, and Chicago won its first Cup since 1961.

All of which brings us to Thursday night’s Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden.

Ryan Strome, who missed the previous game with an unspecified injury, was the Rangers’ Jeff Carter.

With the score tied at 1-1 and the tension mounting, Andrew Copp sent a backhand feed to Strome in front. An empty net was in front of him.

But the pass was slightly behind Strome. He whiffed on the shot. It should have been a goal. It should have given the Rangers control of this fascinating series.

Instead, Ondrej Palat scored about two minutes later as a shot deflected off his body with 1:50 left, giving the two-time defending champs a 2-1 lead. The Bolts added an empty-net goal and won the game, 3-1, and took a 3-2 lead in the series.

If Tampa wins the series, Strome, the Rangers and their fans will remember the Missed Opportunity for many years to come.

Just like the Philadelphia Flyers, their fans, and Carter.

Breakaways

Strome’s brother, Matthew, is in the Flyers’ system. A fourth-round selection in 2017, Strome had 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 63 games with the Phantoms this season. … The Flyers’ scouts and management have been meeting this week to discuss their plans for the July 7-8 draft. … Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr will have a new sit-down restaurant at the Wells Fargo Center. The restaurant will replace The Grille and is expected to be open for the 2022-23 NHL and NBA seasons. … Tampa, which has won three straight, can wrap up the series at home Saturday night (ESPN). Colorado is waiting for the Lightning-Rangers survivor.

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