Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds Forced Game 7

By Jamey Holt
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Wayne Simmonds‘ hat trick helped propel the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-1 Game 6 victory over the New York Rangers, forcing a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Simmonds was the driving force behind the Flyers’ Tuesday night success. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, the Rangers’ top defensive pairing in Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were unable to supplant Simmonds from the edges of Henrik Lundqvist‘s crease. All three of Simmonds’ goals came from within five feet of the Rangers’ goal. Yes, two of his goals came on the Flyers’ power play. Still, Simmonds was able to get to his preferred spots and stay there as he deflected and shoveled in goals seemingly at will.

With the quick turnaround, less than 24 hours in fact, until the 7:00pm ET puck drop of Game 7 tomorrow, the Rangers not only have to figure out a way to do a better job containing Simmonds in front of their net, but they’ll need better special teams play from both their power play and penalty kill. For as lopsided as the 5-1 score line may look, had the Rangers been able to capitalize on their man advantages, it could have been a different story.

Entering the second period, trailing 1-0 to Simmonds’ first tally of the night, the Rangers went 0-for-3 on the man advantage in the middle frame. Simmonds’ third goal, which pushed the score to 4-0, came on the Flyers’ only power play of the period. For the game, the Flyers were 2-for-3 on the power play while the Rangers failed to muster a goal in their five man advantages.

The Flyers have only won one (Game 2) of their past 11 visits to MSG against the Rangers. They will look to turn the momentum gained from this Game 6 win and take the deciding Game 7. For head coach Alain Vigneault and his Rangers team, they will need to come up with a plan to shut down Simmonds’ effectiveness in front of their net while winning the special teams battle.

Game 7 promises to be of the ‘buckle up and hold on’ variety. For the Flyers and the Rangers, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jamey Holt is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @sportsthinktank or add him to your network on Google


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