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Bruins fall to Flyers but remain atop Northeast

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- With a defense stocked with American Hockey League call-ups, a goaltender many believed had seen his best days and with little more than pride to play for, the Philadelphia Flyers snatched the lead by scoring two goals in seven seconds in the second period en route to a 5-2 victory against the visiting Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Matt Read and Oliver Lauridsen scored in succession in the second period, Claude Giroux had a pair of assists and Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek also had goals for the Flyers. Steve Mason, making his fourth start since being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 3, stopped 38 shots as Philadelphia won its second straight game and fourth in its past five.

Wade Redden and David Krejci scored for the Bruins, who remained atop the Northeast Division via tiebreaker with the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams have 59 points, but Boston has played one fewer game than Montreal. The Canadiens lost 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

In six games (five starts) with the Flyers, Mason is 3-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. In 13 games with the Blue Jackets this season, he was 3-6-1 with a 2.95 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Mason said his sole focus is finishing the 2012-13 season as well as he can.

"I'm not really thinking about next year," he said. "I'm just trying to finish on a good note. I was fortunate enough to be able to come here after the trade deadline and start building a foundation and some friendships, start to really get to know the guys coming into next year. Not really looking toward next season yet, just want to finish on a strong note."

He was strong most of the game, helping defuse three Boston power plays, including one in the final 1:59 of the second period when Boston put three shots on net.

"A team like that over there in Boston, they have some great offensive talent," Mason said. "For myself, it was a great challenge. Overall, I was real happy with it [but] we have to talk about the way the guys played. … A lot of credit goes to the rest of the guys."

Some of that credit has to go to a defense that included just two defensemen who started the season on the NHL roster -- Luke Schenn and Kurtis Foster. The number of regular defensemen out of the lineup grew to six with the news that Kimmo Timonen would miss the rest of the season with a compression fracture in his right foot.

"We had a lot of call-ups [but] you have to give them credit," Read said. "They're coming in, a couple guys not too much NHL experience and they're playing like they've been here years. They're moving the puck well, they're playing well defensively and it makes it easy on the forwards to play defense when they're getting the puck and putting it in the right areas for us. They're playing just as well as veterans in this League. That's good for us and its helping our team succeed."

One of those players was Lauridsen, who was credited with his first NHL goal seven seconds after Read put the Flyers ahead 2-1 at 11:24 of the second period.

On the ensuing faceoff Philadelphia won the draw and Lauridsen, playing in his 13th game, dumped the puck into the Boston end. As the puck rolled around the boards, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara tried to throw it back around the boards, but instead it rolled into the crease. Anton Khudobin dropped to one knee to stop the puck, but it hit his stick and went between his skates. Lauridsen was credited with his first NHL goal at 11:31 of the period.

"It wasn't the dream goal but I'll take it," Lauridsen said. "It was just a dump-in and a lucky bounce but it's my first NHL goal so I'll take it."

"I was trying to push it behind [the net]," Chara said. "The puck was stuck on the board. Tried to, you know, flip behind the net to my [defense] partner and just took a weird bounce."

Lauridsen finished with a plus-3 rating in 19:05 of ice time, the second-most ice time he's had. The defense also included veteran Andreas Lilja, called up Tuesday after Timonen's injury; rookie Brandon Manning; second-year player Erik Gustafsson; and Kurtis Foster, who has been with the team all season but has been waived once and was a healthy scratch 23 times.

"I really think that the guys that are here right now are really playing for pride and playing to show that we belong here," Lauridsen said. "Or to put ourselves in good position for next year. We've had a couple games to play together, all of us. … And when you have guys that are new like that, we try to keep it simple and move the pucks to the forwards fast and try to stay out of our end for as much time as possible and it seems to work quite well."

The Bruins, who started a stretch of four games in six days to end the regular season, were disappointed in their play especially in losing an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Canadiens.

"It was definitely a step back in our game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Really poor puck management tonight and poor decision-making. That, to me, is a reflection of guys not being ready to play. They need to take the accountability of being ready. We do a lot of work to prepare and it certainly reflects on us as well as a team, coaching staff and everybody else, but too much of that lately and not enough focus. We are running out of time here to get this stuff going. You always hope that it's some sort of wake-up call, but the way the season's gone you question whether it will or not. Only time will tell."

After Hartnell and Redden exchanged goals in the first period, the game turned on a seven-second burst midway through the second.

Brayden Schenn shot wide of the net on a 3-on-1 rush, but Philadelphia maintained possession in the Boston end, and Wayne Simmonds fired a shot from the high slot that was stopped by Khudobin. He kicked the rebound to his left, where Read and the Bruins' Brad Marchand converged. Both players got sticks on the puck, which bounced in the air, but Read was able to bat it past Khudobin at 11:24 to make it 2-1.

"I have no clue how that happened," Read said. "Just straight luck, I guess. Puck just bounced and I just swung. I don't know how it went in the net. I didn't have much room."

The Flyers scored again on the ensuing faceoff. The seven-second spread on goals tied for the fastest pair in Flyers history.

A frustrated Khudobin smacked the post with his stick and was removed from the game after allowing two goals on 18 shots. He was replaced by Tuukka Rask, who had started the Bruins' back-to-back games in Pittsburgh and Florida on Saturday and Sunday.

Voracek scored his 21st of the season when he took a long pass from Giroux, broke in on Rask and made a nice move to his backhand to make it 4-1 at 5:33 of the third.

Boston cut into the lead on a nice individual effort by David Krejci. He pounced on a weak clearing attempt by Philadelphia rookie blueliner Brandon Manning, then froze Manning with a nice deke in the right circle and beat Mason up high at 8:20.

But the Flyers stole the momentum back just 13 seconds later. Philadelphia created a turnover in the neutral zone on the next faceoff and Luke Schenn sent Giroux racing into the Boston end along the right side. He centered a pass to Simon Gagne, who scored his fifth of the season at 8:33.

It was a bittersweet win for the Flyers, who now are 2-0 since having their postseason hopes ended.

"Unfortunately we're starting to score goals too late," Read said. "I think our team is just kind of gelling and just kind of getting the luck and the bounces. We're working hard together. The lines are clicking and everything. It is bittersweet to score five goals against the Boston Bruins who are a great team, have a great chance of going deep in the playoffs. Just one of those nights where the pucks were going our way and things ended up in the back of the net."

And, for the most part, Mason kept the puck out of his. Again.

"He was very good again tonight," Gagne said. "His confidence is getting bigger and bigger every game. That's something we were talking about on the bench. … Every practice he's getting better. It's tougher to score in practice against him. Those results are starting to happen on the ice in the real game. He was really solid for us again tonight. It's good to see. That's something we were talking about as a team -- even if you're out of the playoffs you want to get ready for next season and show what you can do as a team. Right now, we like what we see from him."


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