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MailTribune.com
  • NHL PLAYOFFS

    Simmonds helps Philadelphia top Rangers, force Game 7

  • PHILADELPHIA — Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers are going back to New York for Game 7. There is no time to waste, too.
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  • PHILADELPHIA — Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers are going back to New York for Game 7. There is no time to waste, too.
    Simmonds scored three goals, Steve Mason stopped 34 shots and the Flyers beat the Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday night to even their first Eastern Conference playoff series at three games apiece.
    Erik Gustafsson also scored as Philadelphia added a third Game 7 to the NHL schedule for tonight. While the other two series last played on Monday night, the Flyers and Rangers have a quick turnaround before their final game at Madison Square Garden.
    "You've got to hop on the train and put it behind you. I've got a few episodes of 'Scandal' to catch up on," Mason said, referring to the popular TV show.
    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 ready helped stake the Flyers to a 4-0 lead and the outcome was a mere formality. Mason raised his stick in the final minutes toward a rowdy crowd that wouldn't stop chanting his name.
    Claude Giroux had an empty-netter for the Flyers, who will try for a second win in New York this series.
    "We're not ready to go home yet," Simmonds said.
    Simmonds, a 29-goal scorer who had one in the first five games, completed the hat trick with 4:41 left in the second. With a short break, 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.
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