Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap: Stone Cold Steve Mason Leads the Flyers to Game 7

Apr 29, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) makes a save against the New York Rangers during the first period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers turned in a complete effort in a 5-2 victory to force a Game 7 showdown against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.  The Flyers found success because their goaltending was superb, their offense, led by Wayne Simmonds, was firing on all cylinders, and their aggression level was finally worthy of a playoff game.

Mason Closed the Door

Steve Mason did close the door, with authority.  The Flyers goaltender made key saves at all of the right moments.  The Rangers came out in the first period as clearly the better team, but could not get any pucks past Mason.  The leather in his glove was blinding as he flashed glove save after glove save.  Mason did give up some juicy rebounds, which did eventually cost him with the Rangers’ 2 third period goals, but the saves he made were highlight reel saves that will certainly give him confidence going into Game 7.

Wayne Makes it Rain

…with hats that is.  Wayne Simmonds’ hat trick was an embodiment of how the Flyers’ even strength offense and power play finally came together.  The Flyers were making passes in the offensive zone and Giroux and Timonen were not stationary at even strength or on the power play. The newly formed second line of Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Brayden Schenn were very mobile when in the slot and chased every puck along the boards, creating chance after chance as the game progressed.  Wayne Simmonds certainly stood out and reaped the benefits of the Flyers’ functioning offense, but his hat trick was a product of an outstanding performance by the Flyers forwards.

Looking Like a Playoff Team

The Flyers certainly turned in a complete effort against the Rangers in Game 2, but the effort put into Game 6 looked like a playoff team’s effort, like a contending team’s effort.  The Flyers were finishing all of their checks, their breakouts were mostly clean, especially in the middle of the game when they took control, and most of their defensemen were particularly rough with clearing out the slot.  The Flyers had the momentum for the entire first and second period, mostly due to the stalwart performance by Mason and their unbreakable penalty kill.  The momentum that carried them through the game needs to be carried into Madison Square Garden, with a few minor adjustments.  As is true with Steve Mason, big saves in the beginning of the game give Lundqvist confidence and something to build off of as the game progresses.  The Flyers’ victory can partially be attributed to beating Lundqvist early.  Also, without Nicklas Grossmann, Timonen and Streit were given more minutes in a defensive role.  This was only an issue when the Flyers were in their own zone and when Timonen and Streit did not clear the crease with the same aggression that Grossman, Coburn, and Schenn do.  This needs to be more consistent to give Mason every advantage when he has to face a shot.  Besides these two adjustments, the Flyers need to just not have a rocky start or rocky finish as they did tonight.  Alain Vigneault and the Rangers somewhat gave up in the third period with his goalie change and his matchup decisions, so it is very important that Flyers’ maintain their momentum as they head into Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.  Maintain this momentum, make the necessary adjustments, and steal Game 7 at MSG!  Go Flyers!!!

Tags: Philadelphia Flyers

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