The Norman Transcript

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April 30, 2014

Simmonds helps Philly stay alive

PHILADELPHIA — Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 34 shots to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, forcing a decisive Game 7 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

There’s little time for rest, too. The Flyers and Rangers play again Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Simmonds scored in the first period and twice more in the second for his first career postseason hat trick. Mason survived a busy first period and stopping 31 straight shots until Carl Hagelin scored late in the third. Mats Zuccarello also scored for New York in the final minute.

By the third, Simmonds had already helped stake the Flyers to a 4-0 lead and the outcome was a mere formality.

Erik Gustafsson also scored and Claude Giroux had an empty-netter for the Flyers, who will try for a second win in New York this series.

Simmonds, a 28-goal scorer who had one in the first five games, completed the hat trick with 4:41 left in the second. With a short turnaround, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was yanked for Cam Talbot to open the third period.

Lundqvist stopped 19 of 23 shots. He couldn’t stop Simmonds.

Simmonds camped out in the dirty area, in front of the crease, and pounded home three short goals that had Flyers fans going wild. On the brink of elimination, about the only thing that could slow down the Flyers were their fans — the game was delayed for a lengthy cleanup after they littered the ice with hats. Someone even threw a shoe.

Outplayed for most of the series, the Flyers were lucky to escape the first period with a 1-0 lead. They were careless with the puck in their own zone and had nine turnovers, which led to a ton of work for Mason, who made 13 saves in the period.

New York is 13-2 in series it has led 3-2, but the Rangers have lost 12 straight games in which they had a series lead.

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