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A STINGER

So close to victory, the Flyers gave up a goal in the final minute then lost in OT 2-1 to Carolina

Wednesday, 11.6.2013 / 12:30 AM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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A STINGER

RALEIGH, N.C. – Steve Mason does not wear a red cape when he plays in goal, although these days it sure seems like he does.

And yet, despite the heroics, despite every effort to cover for his teammates’ miscues, despite the chance at his first Flyers shutout, there was still some kryptonite on the ice at the PNC Arena and unfortunately it was provided by his own teammates.

Just 52 seconds from a victory, the Flyers snatched defeat from the hands of victory against a Carolina Hurricanes team that had lost five straight games coming into the contest.

Claude Giroux lost coverage of Jordan Staal on a tying goal in that final minute. Then, Mark Streit made an ill-advised attempt to carry the puck into the Carolina zone, was checked off the puck, springing Manny Malhotra for a breakaway and the game-winning goal for the Hurricanes in overtime, a 2-1 final.

Sure, the Flyers still got a point out of the deal, but it was a game against a vulnerable division opponent, and rather than draw two points closer to them in the standings, they instead fell a point further off the pace.

The tying goal was the killer. The overtime goal just piled on the ever-mounting frustration.

After a power play awakening, as Kimmo Timonen’s shot was deflected into the goal by Scott Hartnell, giving both men their first points of the season with just 3:58 to play, it seemed like Mason’s efforts were going to be worthwhile.

Yet, a little more than three minutes later, Mason was lying face down on the ice in disbelief.

After every big save he made – and there were a plethora of them among the 36 stops he had against the Hurricanes – it was a simple play that was the result of a breakdown in coverage by Claude Giroux that cost him perfection in goal.

The Staal brothers were stymied all night by Mason. He made a remarkable waffle board save on Jordan in the firs

Steve Mason made blocker saves like this one all night against the Hurricanes, but got very little offensive support in the 2-1 overtime loss.

t period on a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway for Carolina and then followed that with a sensational glove save on Eric in the third period, both goals keeping the game scoreless.

Those stops aside – and the myriad others that kept the Flyers in a game they really had no business being in after the opening period – it was the one that he almost made that stung the most.

Eric Staal took the puck behind the net and feathered a pass into the slot where Jordan Staal had sneaked behind Giroux.

“It happened pretty quick,” Giroux said, taking responsibility for the play. “I thought I was closer to him. I was holding the front of the net and the pass went through me.”

Jordan directed the pass toward the net. Mason slid to stop it and got a piece of it with his glove… but only a piece.

The puck still went in, tying the game and leaving Mason to lie there, exasperated, befuddled, and uncertain of his luck as a groom at a hastily assembled wedding.

“I got a piece of it, just not enough of it,” Mason said.

He didn’t get any of Malhotra’s backhand on the overtime goal, but by then, critical mistakes – like the turnover by Mark Streit that sprung Malhotra on the breakaway – were too overwhelming to overcome.

“Wins are hard to come by right now,” Mason said. “I just have to stay in a positive mindset and keep coming and working hard.”

The Flyers will take the point. They know they left one on the table, but they’ll take it. After letting the sting of the loss wear off, there are some things they can focus on as positives, starting with Mason, of course.

“He played his best game this year,” Giroux said. “We gave up way too many chances in front of the net and if it wasn’t for Steve this game doesn’t get to overtime.”

The power play, which has been woeful of late, scored a key goal late in the game. Hartnell and Timonen got out of the gate… finally.

As for big picture, it’s points in four of the last six games, and take away the Washington debacle Friday, the Flyers have allowed just seven goals in five games.

But this one wasn’t a moral victory. This was a loss that will stick in the craw for a bit longer than normal.

“It’s upsetting,” coach Craig Berube said. “The coverage was there, everything was fine. But we got to make sure we stay with our man and we didn’t and they end up tying it up. Then there’s a turnover in overtime – and breakaway. That can’t happen.”

Berube chose not to address the team after the game, letting them have the taste of losing sink in on its own.

“I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” Berube said.

It’s a safe bet it won’t be the most pleasant of conversations.

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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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