April 30, 2014

Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 34 shots to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 win over the visiting New York Rangers on Tuesday night, forcing a decisive Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

The Flyers and Rangers play again Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Simmonds scored in the first period and twice more in the second for his first career postseason hat trick. Mason survived a busy first period and stopped 31 straight shots until Carl Hagelin scored late in the third. Mats Zuccarello also scored for New York in the final minute.

By the third period, Simmonds had helped stake the Flyers to a 4-0 lead.

Erik Gustafsson also scored and Claude Giroux had an empty-netter for the Flyers.

Simmonds, a 28-goal scorer who had one in the first five games, completed the hat trick with 4 minutes 41 seconds left in the second period.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was yanked for Cam Talbot to open the third period. Lundqvist stopped 19 of 23 shots. But he couldn’t stop Simmonds, who camped out in front of the crease, and pounded home three short goals that had Flyers fans going wild.

Around the league

The Florida Panthers have parted ways with interim coach Peter Horachek. General Manager Dale Tallon said the dismissal was effective immediately.

Horachek replaced Kevin Dineen on Nov. 8, and Florida went 26-36-4 under him. The Panthers finished with the second-lowest point total in the NHL this season and missed the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 seasons. . . .

The Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews are finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. The winner will be announced June 24.

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