PHILADELPHIA – It was hard to tell who got more standing ovations Tuesday night, Steve Mason or President Barack Obama.
When you make 33 saves and pitch the first Flyers shutout at the Wells Fargo Center since March, 2012 (by none other than Ilya Bryzgalov), it’s not hard to compete with the State of the Union address.
Sure the game was 5-0 and wasn’t really close in the end. Sure the Flyers were playing against a Detroit team that more resembled their minor league affiliate than the usually staunch Red Wings squad. It doesn’t matter. When you are trying to snap a four game losing skid as a team, and as a goaltender if you haven’t been up to snuff in recent outings, that kind of effort goes a long way to building confidence not only in yourself, but in those that pull for you game in and game out.
“These games are building blocks,” Mason said. “Over the course of the season you’re going to have ups and downs, it’s just a matter of how you come out of it. This is just a small step in a bigger picture and that’s the way I am going to take a look at it.
“A lot of playing comfortable is the way the guys play in front of me, and tonight was a better effort than we’ve had. There are still some things that we need to work on, but it was a cleaner game than we’ve played recently.”
Mason was good the whole game, but the third period, in which he made 16 saves, was mostly anti-climactic as many of them came with the Flyers holding a three, four or five-goal lead.
However, the Flyers were a little tentative in the first period, and he held his own, and then was especially sound in the second period when the Flyers had a couple of plays go awry in front of him and he was equal to the task.
“In the second period they had two chances in a row there off a broken play in the neutral zone and he made two stops,” coach Craig Berube said. “They were big saves to keep the score where it was.
“I thought he played well. That team attacks as good as any team in the league. They put a lot of pucks on net, so I thought he looked good.”
It was the kind of effort Mason was giving nightly in the opening two months of the season. If this was any evidence of getting back to that, with the way the Flyers are scoring, they should be thrilled with the possibilities.
It was Mason’s 21st career shutout and his second as a Flyer. The other occurred back in November in Ottawa.
“He was outstanding today and he made a lot of big saves to keep us in the game,” said Jake Voracek. “I think he deserved a shutout today. Thirty-three saves or something like that. He’s been great for us all season. He always keeps us in the game.”
NOTES: Kimmo Timonen suffered a lower body injury in the first period and did not return. General manager Paul Holmgren said he would be re-evaluated today, however coach Craig Berube indicated post game that the injury wasn’t serious… The fourth line had a nice game after Craig Berube moved Michael Raffl there. Adam Hall scored a goal and Raffl had an assist. Both were also excellent on the penalty kill and defensively in their own end… Sean Couturier scored the fifth goal for the Flyers, snapping a nine-game drought… Luke Schenn and Nick Grossmann had solid games defensively and led the Flyers with six hits apiece… The Flyers shut out the Red Wings for only the fourth time in their history, and the first time since 2001. All four of the shutouts have been in Philadelphia… The Flyers were 1-for-2 on the power play, which gives them a power play goal in four consecutive games and in 10 of their last 13 games. The power play is 22.9 percent (11 for 48) in that 13-game stretch… The Flyers won the season series against the Red Wings this season, going 2-1 in three games. The last time the Flyers won a season series against Detroit that was more than a single game was the 1987-88 season, when the Flyers went 2-0-1 against the Wings in three games… The Flyers extended their regular-season home winning streak over Detroit to eight games. The last regular-season loss to the Wings here in Philadelphia came on January 25, 1997.
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