Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 34 shots to lead the host 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 tonight 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 stopped 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.
Game 7 no surprise
It should come as no shock that the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks are preparing for a Game 7 of their first-round series considering how tightly contested this fierce California rivalry has been over the last few years.
The surprise is how the teams got to tonight’s win-or-go-home game.
The Sharks were dominant early, winning the first three games and making former playoff MVP Jonathan Quick look rather pedestrian as he allowed 16 goals in those losses.
But the Kings responded to win three straight games by three goals to force the showdown in San Jose for a spot in the second round against Anaheim.
No stress for Roy
Patrick Roy was quite calm and even cracked a few jokes as his team went through a light workout. No signs of stress at all.
Of course, the first-year Colorado Avalanche coach has been in a few pressure-packed Game 7 situations as a hall of fame goaltender — 13 to be exact.
A dozen of his players had never been to the postseason before this year.
And yet Roy’s hardly fretting over his team’s emotional state heading into a decisive final game tonight against the Minnesota Wild, with the winner moving on to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Roy’s reminding his youthful team of one simple thing: Enjoy the moment.