Ranking the Top 5 Philadelphia Flyers Goals in 2014 NHL Playoffs So Far
After their win-or-go-home Game 6 triumph Tuesday evening, the playoff hopes for the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans are alive and well for at least another 24 hours.
But before the nail-biting seat-squirmer that is a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs can take place between the Flyers and New York Rangers, it's time to look back at the postseason highlights to date for the Orange and Black.
Here's a look at the five best goals scored in these playoffs by the Flyers. So far.
5. Mark Streit: Game 3, 17:18 into 1st Period
Despite their first dose of home-ice advantage in the series, the Flyers found themselves down a pair of goals midway through the opening frame of Game 3, just as the Orange and Black had halfway through the first stanza of Game 2.
And even though Philadelphia was locked in an even series overall, the Flyers had struggled to generate offense at even strength, having mustered just two goals at even numbers through the first 130-plus minutes of the series.
But the ice opened up a little with just over three minutes left in the first period of Game 3 when Kimmo Timonen and Benoit Pouliot took successive minor penalties just five seconds apart. Four-on-four hockey ensued, and the Flyers took advantage.
Claude Giroux claimed a loose puck at neutral ice and quickly broke Philly the other way with an outlet pass to Jake Voracek on the right wing. With his head up all the way, the dynamic winger spotted Mark Streit jumping up into the play in the slot and hit the offensive-minded defenseman with a tape-to-tape pass that was promptly punched past the blocker of Henrik Lundqvist for Streit's fourth career postseason conversion.
At the time, Streit's tally was already the third scored by a Flyers blueliner, and while it proved to be the only goal netted by the Orange and Black in their first outing in front of the Philly faithful, it was a goal that at least for a time gave the team and its fans some life.
4. Jake Voracek: Game 4, 7:22 into 2nd Period
While Steve Mason stole the show at one end in Game 4, it was Voracek at the other end who clinched the series-tying tilt for the Flyers.
After first-period conversions from New York's Dominic Moore and Philadelphia's Matt Read, the Flyers and Rangers were even at a goal apiece nearing the midway point of the contest. But before Philly's power play went into its costly Game 5 funk, the man advantage for the Orange and Black came through with an awfully clutch conversion 7:22 into the middle stanza of Game 4.
After falling shortly after carrying the puck into the attacking zone, Voracek was able to work the disc to the half-boards for Jason Akeson, who moved it on to the left point for Streit and eventually into the high slot for Brayden Schenn. With his head up all the way, Schenn found Voracek just atop the Rangers goal crease, who, with his stick on the ice the whole time, was able to redirect the youngster's feed just under the New York crossbar.
Not only did the conversion give the Flyers a 2-1 lead just prior to the midway point of Game 4, but it stood up as the eventual winner in the series-leveling affair at Wells Fargo Center.
A ton of credit goes to Schenn, who, at just 22 years old, didn't panic while better than 19,000 orange-clad fans urged him to shoot but instead looked for a deflection opportunity to solve the stingy Lundqvist.
Additionally, major props to Voracek, who didn't waste time whining about a tripping penalty when he was upended upon entry. Instead, the feisty winger did what all great goal scorers do. He went to the net and was rewarded for his efforts.
3. Claude Giroux: Game 5, 18:31 into 3rd Period
It had been over two years since the last time Giroux found the back of the net against the Rangers, but the Philly captain broke his 10-game scoring drought with the kind of confident shot that Flyers fans had been looking for throughout this series.
With just under 90 seconds left in regulation and the Philadelphia net empty at the other end, Giroux made an otherwise lopsided Game 5 interesting for a moment when his one-time scorcher from the top of the left wing circle sizzled into the back of the New York net.
The drama lasted just another 74 seconds before Brian Boyle sealed the Blueshirts' triumph with an empty-net tally, but Giroux's extra-attacker goal at least gave the Orange and Black a fighting chance at the end.
What's more, the marker helped to give the Philadelphia captain some much-needed confidence, as he turned around and played his best all-around game of the series in Tuesday's season-extending Game 6 victory.
2. Jake Voracek: Game 2, 14:14 into 1st Period
Just moments after Benoit Pouliot chipped a right wing change-up past the outstretched glove of Flyers goaltender Ray Emery to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in a series in which they already controlled a one-game lead, NBC's camera crew caught Philly winger Voracek on the bench emphatically gesturing for his team to settle down.
That two-goal lead could have easily given way to a two-game series lead for New York, but the 24-year-old Voracek wasn't going to let that happen.
Less than six minutes after Pouliot put the Blueshirts in the driver's seat, Voracek trimmed New York's lead in half with a power move on the right wing around Ryan McDonagh, which culminated with a perfectly executed slip of the puck across the goal crease just inside the left post.
The six-year pro has far and away been Philadelphia's best forward in the series, and his crafty conversion in the opening period of Game 2 was the first of four unanswered goals for the Flyers, as the Orange and Black evened their best-of-seven series and snapped a nine-game losing skid at Madison Square Garden.
On a side note, some credit should also be thrown Scott Hartnell's way for the area pass he flipped through the neutral zone to a spot where only Voracek could claim it. The Flyers have struggled to enter the Rangers zone with speed for much of this series, but Hartnell's outlet got Philadelphia going, and Voracek did the rest.
1. Wayne Simmonds: Game 6, 15:19 into 2nd Period
In a must-win game, the Flyers answered the bell Tuesday evening with a convincing 5-2 season-extending victory at Wells Fargo Center.
The triumph was a total team effort, but the major offensive catalyst was Wayne Simmonds, who produced the 23rd postseason hat trick in franchise history.
With just four playoff conversions in 23 postseason tilts heading into this year, the 6'2", 175-pound winger powered in his second, third and fourth goals of these playoffs with the first Flyers' hat trick in Philadelphia since Keith Primeau accomplished the feat on May 2, 2004 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a power-play goal opened the scoring 7:08 into the first period, Simmonds netted his second of the contest just 92 seconds into the middle stanza before completing his first career postseason hat trick with a man-advantage deflection 15:19 into the second period.
Simmonds did the majority of his damage during the regular season just atop the opposition's goal crease, and that's where he feasted Tuesday evening.
In the biggest game of the season to date, the Flyers needed a big-time effort from one of their stars. They got it from Simmonds.