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Flyers try to draw even as Mason returns as starter

by Adam Kimelman


(New York leads best-of-7 series, 2-1)


Big story: Steve Mason will be back in goal for the Philadelphia Flyers when they face the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series. It will be his first start since sustaining an upper-body injury April 12 and his first playoff start since April 23, 2009.

Mason played the final 7:15 of Game 3 against the Rangers on Tuesday but said he's gained more from video work and practice time.

"For a goaltender I think it's a matter of if you're tracking the puck well off the stick and into your body," he said Thursday. "Toward the end of practice I felt really sharp, especially on the power-play stuff there. I was moving well, seeing the puck through screens. If that's the gauge for myself, I feel pretty good."

Team Scope:

Rangers: Coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't talk about his lineup for Game 4, but after the way forward Daniel Carcillo played in Game 3 it would be surprising if he came out.

Carcillo was a healthy scratch in the first two games of the series, but in Game 3 scored a goal and was plus-2 with two hits in 8:57 of ice time. He also took two penalties, so he knows his physical play has to be metered.

"I know my role," Carcillo said. "I said it when I got here. No matter where I am in the lineup, to be an energy guy, a role guy, be physical, wear the other team down. I just have to be smarter going forward with the stuff after the whistle. We addressed that [Thursday]."

Teammates have enjoyed what Carcillo has brought to the lineup.

"He gives you that physical element," defenseman Marc Staal said. "I think guys are aware when he's on the ice. He's going to finish his checks and get you thinking twice. He's fired up, he's ready to go. It was nice that he could help us the way he did."

Flyers: After having 28 shots blocked in Game 3, the focus at practice Thursday was faster puck movement and quicker decision-making, especially on the power play.

"They are a very good team in blocking shots, everyone knows that," forward Jakub Voracek said. "So you have to put that extra effort you wouldn't have to do against other teams to find that line and get pucks though."

That would allow the Flyers to play to their strengths down low, especially with power forwards Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds. They combined for 24 power-play goals in the regular season.

"The pucks aren't getting to the net so they can't get the rebounds or tips on the pucks," coach Craig Berube said. "Until that happens they'll be just standing there. All year long their goals were scored around the net. That's what they do. They're good at it. They're good at tipping pucks, finding rebounds. It's the other three guys' responsibility to get them pucks there."

Who's hot: Dating to the regular season, Rangers forward Martin St. Louis has points in five straight games. In the first three games of this series he had two goals and three assists. … Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn had 78 shots on goal in 79 regular-season games, but in three games he has eight shots, tied for the team lead.

Injury report: Flyers forward Steve Downie (upper body) is out indefinitely. … Rangers forward Chris Kreider (hand) is out.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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