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Surging Flyers top Canucks in shootout

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER - Steve Mason doesn't think the Philadelphia Flyers could have overcome a break like the one that put them behind late in regulation against the Vancouver Canucks when they were struggling during their early weeks of the season.

A lot has changed since then.

Brayden Schenn picked up brother Luke by tying the game in the final minute of regulation, and Vincent Lecavalier completed the comeback with the only goal in the shootout, lifting the Flyers to a 4-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

"Realistically speaking, probably not," Mason, who made 41 saves before stopping all three in the shootout, said when asked if they could have pulled off a similar comeback two months ago.

"We were very fragile back then."

Philadelphia isn't fragile any more. After Luke Schenn accidentally knocked a rebound into his own net to put the Canucks ahead with 2:48 left in regulation, younger brother Brayden scored his first goal in 17 games with 46.8 seconds remaining and Mason pulled for the extra attacker.

After a scoreless overtime, Lecavalier beat Eddie Lack with a nice deke and forehand shot over the blocker in the first round of the shootout, and Mason stopped Mike Santorelli, Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin to preserve the comeback as the Flyers improved to 6-1-1 in their past eight games.

"For the guys to show that kind of resiliency and be able to come right back after a pretty deflating goal is nice," said Mason, admitting he had his head down on the bench when Brayden Schenn tied it. "Just looking down, trying not to watch those last minutes, tense moments, but I heard the boys cheering and it's nice to see them battling like that."

It was fitting that the younger Schenn got the Flyers even after older brother Luke accidentally knocked a rebound from a long Daniel Sedin shot off Mason's blocker, up over the goalie and into the net.

The lead lasted just over two minutes. After Sean Couturier won a draw in the Vancouver end, Scott Hartnell won a battle atop the Canucks' crease and fed across Brayden Schenn for a tap-in.

"A little brotherly love," Mason said.

There was also a blown faceoff coverage that had Canucks coach John Tortorella steaming - and swearing - after his team's first home loss in eight games.

"The mistake on the faceoff, that's aggravating," Tortorella said. "That's what keeps you out of playoffs, plays like that, the details, the faceoffs. I thought we played our ass off back-to-back. We created a tremendous amount of scoring chances, but you kick yourself in the teeth for the lack of detail on the faceoff. That aggravates me."

Fourth-line wing Tom Sestito, who was claimed off waivers from the Flyers in March, and Jannik Hansen scored second-period goals to put the Canucks ahead, but Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored on a partial break with 68 seconds left in the period to tie it 2-2.

Defenseman Mark Streit opened the scoring the Flyers, who had lost five straight road games before winning the first two of a six-game trip that continues Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.

"We can be better," said Giroux, who assisted on Streit's goal to extend his point streak to nine games and 17 points. "At some points during the game we are playing well but we need to be consistent. When we played the way we want to play we got goals."

The Flyers have scored 30 of them in the past eight games, led by a top line of Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and rookie Michael Raffl, who had two assists against the Canucks. Voracek had his nine-game point streak snapped, but the trio has 40 points in the past 10 games.

Despite that, Giroux was quick to pass the credit back to Mason, who stopped Daniel Sedin on a breakaway and pushed across to rob David Booth on a 2-on-1 break early in the third period.

"Same story as the start of the year, he kept us in the games and now to get a win for him it's huge," Giroux said. "He's unbelievable, the saves he's making. He's our hardest-working guy so when the goalie is the hardest working guy the players are going to follow."

The Canucks couldn't do the same for Lack, who was coming off an 18-save shutout against Calgary the night before and was making back-to-back starts for the first time in the NHL. He made 24 saves as the Canucks lost for the third time in December (10-1-2).

"This game had no business going into overtime," said Hansen, who scored the winning goal in a 2-0 victory at Calgary on Sunday and put the Canucks ahead with 3:09 left in the second period on Monday.

"We should have closed this out earlier."

Giroux tied it two minutes later after Raffl sent him in on a partial break, holding off the check of Hamhuis and drawing a penalty before slipping the bouncing puck between the legs of Lack.

After a slow start that saw him record just seven assists in the first 15 games, Giroux has six goals and 17 points during his point streak and 37 points in 39 games overall.

Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was held without a point for the first time in six games, ending a point streak that included two goals in each of the past three games.

Already down to their ninth defenseman with the loss of Andrew Alberts on Sunday and the Monday morning recall of Frank Corrado from the American Hockey League, the Canucks got another scare when Kevin Bieksa was hit in the face by a clearing attempt with seven minutes left in the first period. Bieksa left clutching a towel to his face and the Flyers scored while he was in the locker room, but he was back before the period ended.

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