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POST GAME THOUGHTS: FLYERS 2, KINGS 0

Mason the difference in a big road win for the Flyers.
Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 8:14 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
POST GAME THOUGHTS: FLYERS 2, KINGS 0

The questions have certainly swirled since Steve Mason signed his new contract.

Like sharks circling a leaky barrel of chum at seas, the critics have been looking for any and every reason to decry the contract extension as a misread by Flyers management.

Using a three game sample in which he was pulled twice, had very little defense played in front of him and an eyesore 5.28 goals against average and an .853 save percentage in those games the skeptics replaced the batteries in their megaphones and started to squawk.

But you had to know those statistics were not indicative of Mason’s game – certainly not the Mason who has been pretty darn good since coming to Philadelphia.

You had to know, based on his play in the first two months of the season, that Mason could put up polarizing numbers that would certainly bring about more cheers than jeers.

And Mason knew too - which became vividly apparent in the three games since.

Mason rounded off a darn good week of play making 35 saves to shutout the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 Saturday, stealing two points for a Flyers team that really struggled to get shots on net, posting just 13 tying a franchise record for fewest in a game.

So, it was up to Mason to make the difference.

And he did, thwarting several chances the Kings were able to string together, especially in the second period when things started to get hairy for the Flyers in their own end while they were nursing a one-goal lead.

Mason was a rock, and the Flyers leaned on him the entire game for support and he was able to keep the team upright in a critical game.

And now, after those three ugly games, Mason has posted two shutouts in the last three games, and played better than the numbers would indicate in the other and has turned that frown upside down (Anyone else remember Kiddie City?)

In those three games, Mason has a 1.35 goals against average and a .958 save percentage, his best three-game stretch since mid-November (1.30, .958).

The point is, when Mason was going like this in November is when the Flyers started their mad dash up the Metropolitan Division standings.

A repeat of that here over the span of the next several games can help the Flyers get a little bit of separation from the bulging pack of teams surrounding them in the playoff race.

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I no longer have a vote in the team awards at the end of the season, but if I did, I would really have to consider Wayne Simmonds as a strong candidate for the Bobby Clarke trophy as team MVP.

Aside from the fact that the guy never takes a shift off, he has really emerged as one of the most reliable offensive threats on the team.

He now has 40 points this season in 56 games (18 goals, 22 assists), which is a nice, but not eye-popping total.

Until you look more closely.

He only had one goal and four assists for five points in the first 16 games this season. That means since Nov. 12, he has 35 points in 40 games, approaching a point per game.

He only needs 10 points in the final 26 games – which seems very likely – to set a career high in points.

And the Flyers recognize what his contributions have meant.

With Kimmo Timonen sidelined with a lower-body injury in this game, Berube tabbed Simmonds as the guy to wear his “A” as an alternate captain.

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NOTES: There’s no stats to really point to to highlight this, so you’ll have to trust me – Michael Raffl had another fine game on the fourth line. Good pressure, good chances, Good defense, good skating. In short, Craig Berube is getting good shifts out of the fourth line now that Raffl is centering it… Andrej Meszaros replaced Timonen in the lineup on defense… Zac Rinaldo led the Flyers in hits with six… The pairing of Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn has quietly been playing much better. They both had more than 20 minutes of ice time. Schenn had three hits. Gustafsson had three blocks.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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