Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/3/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Even though the Philadelphia Flyers opened their ultra-challenging California trip with a 5-3 defeat in Anaheim on Thursday night, coach Craig Berube saw positives.
The Flyers, who play in San Jose tonight, outshot the powerful Ducks and had a 4-1 edge in power plays. They matched Anaheim's physical style and were hard on the puck.
"We lost, but I really liked our competitiveness," Berube said. "I liked the way we played."
He was even more satisfied with the team's performance Saturday, a hard-fought 2-0 win over the offensively challenged Kings in Los Angeles.
The Kings had a lot more scoring chances -- holding a 35-13 edge in shots -- but the Flyers, for the most part, kept Los Angeles on the perimeter, and the visitors cashed in on the few scoring chances they created. The Flyers set a franchise record for fewest shots in a win.
"The Kings are a big, strong team that plays good defence, so we needed to match that, and the guys did a good job," Berube said.
The Flyers played with discipline, won the special-teams battle and did just enough good things to produce just their second win in seven games, thanks largely to Steve Mason's outstanding goaltending.
Mason went through his first rough patch as a Flyer recently -- he had a 4.56 goals-against average and an .851 save percentage in a six-game stretch -- but he has regained his mojo. It was his second shutout in the last three games.
"He looked sharp," said Berube, referring to Mason's 35-save shutout of a Kings team that is next to last in the NHL in scoring. "I think a lot of that, too, is giving them shots from the outside. That helps. We talked about protecting the centre of the ice more. When a goalie sees shots that are easy to handle and makeable saves, it helps everybody."
In Los Angeles, the Flyers (27-23-6) did a better job clearing bodies in front of Mason than they did in the loss to Anaheim.
Against San Jose (35-15-6), the Flyers will probably get a break: Logan Couture, the Sharks' high-scoring forward, is expected to miss the game with a hand injury.
The Flyers are in a logjam in the Metropolitan Division, where the third-place and seventh-place teams are separated by only two points. The Flyers are fourth in the Metro (the top three make the playoffs) and ninth in the Eastern Conference (the top eight earn playoff berths).
"We've been in a tight spot the entire season, so this is no different for us," Mason said. "Every game is going to be a must-win for us -- I know it's a cliché to say it, but realistically it is -- because if you're not winning, other teams are going past you, and we can't let that happen."
The Sharks, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout win over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, are a staggering 20-3-3 at home.
"This is going to be another test. They have one of the toughest arenas to play in," Mason said. "They have a good atmosphere there and we just have to make sure we're prepared."
-- The Philadelphia Inquirer
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 3, 2014 C2
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Sabres home game against Rangers postponed by NHL
Dupuis will miss six months
Vrbata leads Canucks past Oilers 5-4
Rangers' Talbot shuts out Flyers 2-0 for 1st win
Red Wings recall Ouellet, put Smith in 7-day IR
Blackhawks looking for consistency on circus trip
Irbe enjoys brief 2-period NHL return with Sabres
Otters win first game without McDavid
Sabres call up goalie Lieuwen from minors
Leafs looking for answers after ugly losses
Lindros set to take place in Flyers Hall of Fame
Jackets assign centre Chaput to AHL Springfield
Penguins forward Dupuis out with blood clot
Blackhawks D van Reimsdyk scheduled for surgery
Fleury, Penguins shut out Canadiens
Writing book helped Tootoo ‘heal as a person’
Polarizing NHL boss to headline Rady JCC Sports Dinner
LA Kings ride big 2nd period past Panthers, 5-2
Hiller solid as Flames rally to shootout win
Capitals get winner in OT, beat Coyotes 2-1
Staal helps Hurricanes beat Stars 6-4 to snap skid
Jets heat up 2nd for 3-1 win over Devils
Rocco Grimaldi plays AHL, NHL games on same day
Stars F Nichushkin has hip surgery
Phaneuf: Leafs' 9-2 loss 'unacceptable'
Howard makes 28 saves, Red Wings beat Blue Jackets
Rask makes 33 saves, Bruins shut out Blues 2-0
Gionta scores 2 in Sabres' 4-1 win over Sharks
Sabres forward Kaleta snowed-in for game vs Sharks
Islanders score 3 in 2nd, beat Lightning 5-2
Wild assign goalie Josh Harding to AHL affiliate
Sabres goalie Neuvirth injured in 1st period
Vancouver Canucks back on rise after down season
Blackhawks recall D Clendening from Rockford
Murray keeps working while fighting cancer
Semyon Varlamov day-to-day with groin injury
NHL general managers scrap dry scraping
Penguins defenceman Maatta back after cancer scare