Thu, May 01, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Simmonds hat-trick helps Flyers force series decider


Dan Girardi, second left, and Ryan McDonagh, right, of the New York Rangers defend against Wayne Simmonds, left, and Scott Hartnell, second right, of the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period of Game 6 of their Stanley Cup playoff series at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Photo: AFP

Wayne Simmonds scored a hat-trick, while goaltender Steve Mason made 34 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers sent their playoff series against the New York Rangers to a decider with a 5-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson and center Claude Giroux also had goals for the Flyers, who will need to become the first team to win two in a row in this series to advance to a Conference semi-final showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rangers left-winger Carl Hagelin ended Mason’s shutout bid with 6 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game and center Mats Zuccarello scored a consolation goal in the final minute.

Game 7 of the Eastern Conference series was to be played last night at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers are 2-1 on home ice this post-season.

Mason, who did not start the first three games of the series because of an upper-body injury, was outstanding for the second time in three games.

He outplayed Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, an eight-time All-Star and former Vezina Trophy winner, who allowed four goals on 23 shots and was replaced by Cam Talbot at the start of the third period.

Right-winger Simmonds scored three of the first four goals of the game as Philadelphia raced to a 4-0 lead.

The longtime rivals meet in a Game 7 for only the second time in their history.

The Flyers beat the Rangers 4-3 in the deciding game of the NHL semi-finals on May 5, 1974. Philadelphia then went on to defeat Boston for their first Stanley Cup title.

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