GAME 6 RECAP
Score: Flyers 5, Rangers 2
How it happened: Wayne Simmonds recorded a hat trick and Steve Mason stepped up once again in the wake of an abundance of early Flyers turnovers.
Hero: Simmonds cemented his Game 6 hero status with his second, third and fourth goals of the series.
Three's company: Simmonds' three-goal performance marked the 23rd postseason hat trick in Flyers history and third by a current member of the team. In the first-round series against the Penguins in 2012, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each scored three goals in the Flyers' 8-5 win in Game 2. The last Philadelphia player to complete a postseason hat trick before the end of the second period, as Simmonds did, was Tim Kerr on April 19, 1989 against the Penguins.
The "Gus" effect: After Hal Gill struggled in Sunday's Game 5, Erik Gustafsson was inserted last night for his first appearance of the postseason. The defenseman certainly made an impact, scoring a second-period goal just after exiting the penalty box that gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead. It was his second career postseason goal and the fourth scored this series by a Flyers defenseman.
First on the board: For only the second time in the series, the Flyers scored first, on Simmonds' first-period power-play goal. The only other game in which the Flyers scored first was Game 1, when Andrew MacDonald scored the team's lone goal on a first-period slap shot. Last night marked the first time the Flyers led at the end of the first period of a game since April 6, a span of nine games.
Watch the turnovers: If the Flyers are to win the series tonight, they likely will have to cut down on turnovers. They gave the puck away a whopping nine times in the first period and finished with 16 turnovers in the game.
Odd streak continues: The Rangers extended their perplexing streak of losing games played with a series lead to 12.
Up next: The Flyers and Rangers play Game 7 tonight at 7 at Madison Square Garden. The winner advances to play the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh advanced with a 4-2 series win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Game 7 history: Tonight will mark the Flyers' 16th Game 7 and seventh since 2000. They enter with a 9-6 record in such games, 3-3 on the road. The Rangers are 6-5 in Game 7s.
Key stat: The Flyers were 2-for-3 on the power play and killed off all five of the Rangers' power-play attempts. The Flyers extended their impressive streak of consecutive penalty kills to 20.
Daily News' three stars
1. Wayne Simmonds, Flyers: Broke out in a huge way, scoring three goals in the first two periods to lead the Flyers to victory.
2. Steve Mason, Flyers: Continued his stellar play, stopping 34 of the 36 shots the Rangers sent his way.
3. Claude Giroux, Flyers: The captain assisted on two of Simmonds' three goals and scored an empty-netter in the third.