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
Subban relieved Price uninjured in collision
Erkamps the hero in Wheaties' win
NBCSN's Engblom gets stitches after struck in head by puck
Penguins beat Sharks 3-2 in shootout
Gibson makes 26 saves, Ducks beat Devils for 3rd in row
Bruins edge Hurricanes 2-1 in OT
Islanders hold on to beat Red Wings 5-4
Bouma scores 2 goals to lead Flames over Predators 5-2
Ovechkin, Chimera score 2 each in Caps' win over Rangers
Flyers' Lecavalier at career crossroads
Klingberg has OT winner as Stars top Canucks
Duchene, Iginla have 3 points each as Avs beat Sabres 5-3
Pacioretty nets OT winner in Canadiens win
Dubnyk stops 31 shots as Wild beat Kings 4-1
Jenner gets tiebreaking goal to lead Blue Jackets past Blues
Staal, Faulk score in 3rd, lead Hurricanes past Devils 3-1
Mrazek shuts out Lightning, Red Wings win 4-0
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2
Penguins score 3 goals in third period, beat Coyotes 3-2
Lucic scores 2 goals in Bruins' 4-2 win over Rangers
Ducks hold off Islanders, clinch playoff berth
Predators down Caps, clinch playoff berth
Boston G Rask leaves game early in 2nd
Datsyuk returns from injury for Red Wings vs Tampa Bay
Rangers G Lundqvist returns to lineup after neck injury
Wheaties turn tables, pound Oil Kings to square series
Blackhawks' Kane might be able sooner than expected
Bachman, Oilers blank Stars 4-0
Atkinson has hat trick, Blue Jackets beat Blackhawks 5-2
Vanek, Koivu, Parise score in third, Wilds beat Flames 4-2
Canucks know they need a short memory
Once again, hockey brings Don Dietrich to the top of the world
NHL fines Capitals' Wilson for embellishment
Coyotes broadcaster charged with assault in casino fight
Oil Kings knock off Wheaties in Game 1
Canucks fall flat in loss to Avalanche
Hammond suffers first regulation-time loss