Just 24 hours after a lopsided meeting on Broad Street, Broadway sets the stage for Game 7.
The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will go the distance in a playoff series for just the second time when they meet at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The Rangers and Flyers haven’t met in a Game 7 since facing off in Philadelphia in the 1974 semifinals, when the Broad Street Bullies slugged their way to their first Stanley Cup.
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Perhaps inspired by those legendary teams, Philadelphia staved off elimination at home by bullying its way to a 5-2 win over New York in Game 6 on Tuesday, as the Metropolitan Division rivals continued to alternate victories through this series.
Wayne Simmonds provided the latest heroics, and rugged display. The right wing became the first Flyer to net a playoff hat trick against the Rangers since Eric Lindros in 1997, scoring all three times in front of the crease while adding 12 of Philadelphia’s series-high 27 penalty minutes for good measure.
"We’re not ready to go home yet," said Simmonds, who had one goal through the first five games of the series, and has three in 12 career visits overall to MSG.
Steve Mason is 0-2-1 with a 3.85 goals-against average in four career game at MSG, and he stopped 18 of 21 shots in a 4-2 loss in Game 5. However, he had 34 saves Tuesday and stopped all 13 shots to blank the Rangers in a tenuous opening period.
"It’s always important to feel the puck early," he said. "I was able to make a couple of timely saves to start off the game and feel good for the rest of it. It was nice to be busy a little earlier in the game."
The Rangers may be looking for some heroics from Henrik Lundqvist in an effort to avoid losing a Game 7 at the Garden for the first time. They’ve won all five there, including two spurred by Lundqvist in 2012 over Ottawa and Washington.
The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner stopped 19 of 23 shots before being pulled after two periods in Game 6.
"I already started thinking about (Game 7)," Lundqvist said. "You don’t want to analyze this too much. We have a Game 7 at home."
Production from the power play could also help the Rangers, who are 3 for 28 in the series and 0 for 16 over the past four games.
While Simmonds has imposed himself on this series for the Flyers, New York is still waiting for Rick Nash to do the same. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound left wing is still seeking his first goal, and he hasn’t managed a point in the past three games.
Nash was held to two shots in Game 6 after failing to muster any in the previous contest.
"It was one of those nights where we just couldn’t execute," center Brad Richards said. "This team is not going to be thinking about what happened. You have to move on quick."
Richards has two goals and four assists in this series, managing two of each at home.
New York hasn’t been eliminated at home in a series since falling to Buffalo in Game 6 in 2007, and it’s won 10 of 11 overall meetings there with Philadelphia.
Clinching the series at the Garden seems to be providing some extra motivation for the Flyers.
"If we win Game 7, it’s going to feel even more special because it’s over there," captain Claude Giroux said after getting three points in Game 6, including an empty-net goal.
The winner of this series will face Pittsburgh in the next round.