NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 30th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (3-3) at New York Rangers (3-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - One night after tying the series on home ice the Philadelphia Flyers will try to win a Game 7 in New York, as the Rangers host the decisive battle of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers had a chance to close out this best-of-seven series Tuesday night in Philadelphia, but Wayne Simmonds posted a hat trick for the hosts and Steve Mason was spectacular in net to help the Flyers record a 5-2 win and avoid elimination.
New York is 2-1 at MSG in this series and the Blueshirts have recorded wins in 10 of their last 11 home games against the Flyers. The Rangers also own a perfect 5-0 record in Game 7s at the Garden, but are 6-5 in 11 overall decisive seventh games.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are 9-6 all-time in Game 7s and have won the last three times they have been in this situation. Philadelphia has an even 3-3 mark in road Game 7s.
Tonight's clash marks only the second Game 7 between the Flyers and Rangers. Philadelphia posted a 4-3 home win at the Spectrum on May 5, 1974 en route to winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
Wednesday's winner will move on to the Eastern Conference semifinals to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, this season's Metropolitan Division champions.
Simmonds turned in his first career playoff hat trick on Tuesday to help set up tonight's Game 7 in the Big Apple. He scored on the power play at 7:08 of the first period and then handed the Flyers a 2-0 lead just 1:32 into the second stanza. Then, just 62 seconds after defenseman Erik Gustafsson pushed Philadelphia's lead to 3-0 at 14:17 of the middle period, Simmonds completed the hat trick with another power-play tally.
Special teams has kept the Flyers in this series, as the club has converted 6- of-19 power-play opportunities while allowing New York to score just three times on 28 chances with the man advantage. The Rangers went 0-for-5 on the power play on Tuesday and are scoreless in 16 chances with the man advantage over the last four games.
Mason recorded 34 saves to help Philadelphia subdue the Rangers on Tuesday, but Wednesday's tilt will mark the goaltender's first career Game 7.
"The whole game he was great," Flyers head coach Craig Berube said of Mason. "He has to be. He did a good job in the first period and he put us in a good spot to win the game."
Flyers captain Claude Giroux notched an empty-net tally and added an assist for his first multi-point effort of these playoffs
New York's star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped just 19-of-23 shots and was pulled after 40 minutes. Cam Talbot stopped all five shots he faced in relief.
"You don't want to analyze this too much. We have a Game 7 at home," Lundqvist said.
Carl Hagelin foiled Mason's shutout bid with 6:34 left, with Mats Zuccarello later scoring for New York in the final minute and the outcome already decided.
Gustafsson played in his first game of this series for Philadelphia on Tuesday. He was inserted in the lineup for Game 6 after veteran blueliner Hal Gill had a rough time replacing the injured Nicklas Grossmann in Game 5.
Grossmann had surgery to repair an injured right ankle on Tuesday and will be sidelined for 8-to-10 weeks.
04/30 10:34:10 ET