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
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
"You don't want to analyze this too much. We have a Game 7 at home," Lundqvist
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
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