Blue Seat Blogs

Simmonds nets three, Flyers force Game 7

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The title of this goal breakdown says it all. Wayne Simmonds scored thrice, and the Flyers forced the Rangers into a Game Seven at MSG tonight. The Rangers completely owned the first six minutes of the game, but an ill-advised Benoit Pouliot penalty –followed by Simmonds’ first goal– was the beginning of the end for the Blueshirts. The Rangers lost all momentum they had after pure domination, gave up a powerplay goal, and couldn’t recover.

Way too many people blamed Henrik Lundqvist –who was pulled for the third period– for this loss, but that’s just silly. As you’ll see in the breakdown, there were two Dan Girardi giveaways, a breakaway, and a blatantly blown coverage in the four goals allowed. I get that people expect him to steal games and whatnot, but this isn’t the kind of game he’s going to be able to steal. Plus, the Rangers are the better team. Hank shouldn’t need to steal games from the Flyers.

It doesn’t matter. It’s win or go home tonight. On to last night’s goals:

Flyers 1, Rangers 0

I couldn’t get a good picture on this one, they all came out blurry. Sorry about that.

While the goal occurred when Simmonds was able to collect his own rebound off Ryan McDonagh’s skate in front of the net, the real issue was Girardi turning the puck over to Claude Giroux at center ice. The puck should have gone all the way down the ice while on the PK, not up the middle where Giroux was waiting.

Flyers 2, Rangers 0

Girardi had a bit of a rough game. This time his giveaway in the defensive zone to Brayden Schenn led to a mini 2-on-1 for Schenn and Simmonds. Schenn whiffed on his shot, and the puck rolled right to Simmonds who banged it into the empty net.

Flyers 3, Rangers 0

This goal started when Mats Zuccarello blew a tire in the offensive zone. The Flyers eventually got the puck as Erik Gustafsson exited the penalty box behind John Moore. Moore should have realized the situation and noticed Gustafsson out of the box, but he was sprung for a breakaway nonetheless. This is the only goal of the game where you can partially raise an eyebrow to Hank. He came out to play the puck, hesitated when it slowed, and then couldn’t get comfortable for the breakaway. He half-committed to poking the puck. You either commit or you don’t. Regardless, this one is on Moore, who needs to recognize that Gustafsson is exiting the box.

Flyers 4, Rangers 0

Yea. The picture really explains this one here.

Rangers 1, Flyers 4

Anton Stralman had his shot partially blocked, and the rebound went right to an uncovered Carl Hagelin low. His shot appeared to roll up Steve Mason’s stick and into the net. At least it broke the shutout.

Flyers 5, Rangers 1

Empty netter. No breakdown here.

Rangers 2, Flyers 5

Zuccarello got creamed along the boards, but bounced back up and cut to the front of the net. No one picked him up and Pouliot hit him in front for the goal.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers really dominated puck possession from start to finish here. Unfortunately, puck possession isn’t everything. They didn’t put the puck in the net early, and they played undisciplined hockey throughout. There is also a very long flatline between Philly’s second and fourth goals.

It wouldn’t be the Rangers if they didn’t need a Game Seven at home. It’s now a best of one.