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Flyers' Mason takes blame for loss after bad goal

Capitals forward Chimera scores game-winner on redirection from center ice

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- First, Steve Mason looked behind him, which is never a good thing, and then he looked up to the Verizon Center ceiling in disgust.

It was a goaltender's worst nightmare and it had just happened to him.

With his Philadelphia Flyers teammates struggling to solve Braden Holby so far in this Eastern Conference First Round series, Mason knows his margin for error is small. So, he can't afford to give up goals like the one Jason Chimera scored 2:26 into the second period Saturday, the eventual game-winner in the Washington Capitals' 4-1 Game 2 victory.

"It's just a bad goal," Mason said repeatedly.

Video: PHI@WSH, Gm2: Chimera's tip beats Mason from distance

The Capitals already were leading 1-0 after on John Carlson scored a power-play goal with 5:51 left in the first period. Mason couldn't be blamed on that one; he was screened by Marcus Johansson, who was standing in front without opposition from the Flyers.

Mason could see Chimera's "shot" coming from about 100 feet away, though.

It was actually more of a tip or a chip but went down as one of Chimera's two shots on goal in the game. Defenseman Karl Alzner threw the puck up ice from out of the right corner in the Capitals end to Chimera, who was roughly 10 feet on the Washington side of the red line.

Although the puck ramped up a little off Chimera's stick blade, it landed flat and continued on slowly toward Mason, who dropped down into his butterfly before it arrived. Perhaps the puck was going too slow because, as Mason went to steer it aside, he turned his stick blade too soon and whiffed.

"I tried to put it into the corner and I messed up," Mason said.

The puck hit the inside of Mason's left leg instead and carried on across the goal line.

Serenaded with chants of "Maaa-son! Maaa-son!" from Capitals fans, Mason acknowledged the feeling of seeing the puck in the net behind him "wasn't good."

Video: Steve Mason talks about the loss in Game 2

"My fault, obviously," he said. "I put the team in a tough position after that, and it's just a bad goal."

Mason tried to take all the blame for the loss, but, as Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said, "We scored one goal for him."

That one goal, scored by Voracek, is all the Flyers have managed against Holtby in losing the first two games of this best-of-7 series. While Holtby has stopped 60 of the 61 shots he has faced so far, including 41 saves Saturday, Mason has allowed six goals on 54 shots.

That's not good enough in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Mason, who is 2-8 in his NHL postseason career, knows that as well as anyone.

So, though he received "endless support from the boys" following Chimera's goal, he said, "At the same time, it's my fault, and I realize that. That can't happen moving forward here."

Video: Capitals' G Holtby talks about Steve Mason fluke goal

Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol spoke glowingly of Mason for helping the Flyers reach the playoffs by going 10-4-3 in starting 17 of the final 19 regular-season games. But, when given the chance to say he'll stick with Mason in what will be almost a must-win in Game 3 at Wells Fargo Center on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-DC, CSN-PH), Hakstol punted.

"I haven't thought a whole lot about that," Hakstol said. "What are we, 20 minutes from the end of the hockey game here, fellas? You know what? [Mason] has been outstanding for us. We're going to do throughout our lineup as we've done all year long; we do what's best for our hockey team, and [Mason] has been a guy that's carried us through different parts of this season, but no question, down the stretch he's been the guy and done a great job for us.

"So, I haven't considered [whether he'll play Monday] to this point in time, but that's how I feel about [Mason]."

Mason's mistake was far from the only one the Flyers made Saturday, but they did outplay the Capitals for long stretches. Even after Chimera's goal, they did not fade. Voracek scored after a mistake by Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik at 9:37 to cut the Capitals lead to 2-1.

Video: Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol after the Game 2 loss

An Alex Ovechkin power-play goal with 2:39 remaining in the second put the Capitals back up by two, though, and three goals is plenty for Holtby, who has allowed one goal or fewer in 15 of his past 18 postseason wins, including 12 in a row.

"He's making the saves he has to right now, and we've got to find a way to put it past him here," Mason said.

Although Mason's mistake helped the Capitals, Holtby felt for his counterpart.

"I couldn't even watch the replay of it," Holtby said. "As a fellow goalie, you never want to see that happen. I'm glad it wasn't a one-goal game in the end. Even as an opposing team, you want to earn your goals and whatnot (instead of) weird bounces like that. I feel for him, but, in saying that, we're going to have to be extra prepared next game because he's an NHL goaltender. He's mentally tough, so he's going to be coming back with a very good game, and we've got to be ready for that."

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