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Flyers' Akeson redeems himself in Game 2 win

by Adam Kimelman

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward Jason Akeson enjoyed his postgame media session far more Sunday than he did Thursday.

Akeson scored the game-tying goal in Game 2 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers as the Flyers evened the series with a 4-2 victory.

The goal came one game he took a four-minute high-sticking penalty in the third period of Game 1. The game was tied 1-1 at that point, but the Rangers scored twice en route to a 4-1 victory.

With two days between games, the game-changing penalty Akeson committed could have eroded his confidence, especially since it came in his first playoff game. However, he said the call was gone from his mind not long after Game 1 ended.

"You think about it after the game and that's about it," Akeson said. "You try to forget about it and move on."

Even if he was letting it bother him, Akeson's teammates were quick to remind him the loss in Game 1 was far from his fault.

"Guys are there to give him a pat on the back," Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn said. "Wasn't his fault. Mistakes happen out there. That's all part of the game. He did a great job of responding there and had a huge goal."

Coach Craig Berube said there wasn't much of a thought on his part to change the lineup.

"I understand it was a four-minute penalty but he played well and it was a mistake," Berube said. "You've got to learn from them. He's a good player. He's played well for us."

In two games Akeson has one goal and is tied for the team lead with six shots on net.

Strong offensive play is nothing new for Akeson, who led the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, in goals (24), assists (40) and points (64).

"He shoots the puck," Berube said. "He's a skilled guy. He knows how to put the puck in the net."

And despite being 23 and with as many regular-season games as playoff games at the NHL level, Akeson already knows to stay as even-keeled as possible at this time of year.

"We had to move past the last one," he said. "We have to move past this one and move on to Game 3."


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