Flyers Goalie Comes up with 37 Saves in 2-1 win over the New York Rangers
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—Until further notice, a horrible game or the end of the Flyers playoff run, Steve Mason is your goalie. Period—end of discussion. There is no goalie controversy in this part of South Philly.
In a must-win situation, Mason did his part stopping 37 shots on goal and the offensive did just enough to support his outstanding effort.
Jakub Voracek’s second-period power-play goal gave the Flyers a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center to even the best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series at two games apiece.
With the way, the Rangers were attacking the Flyers net in Friday’s Game 4, Mason simply shut New York down for most of the game.
“He’s been great for us all year long, he’s very strong mentally and he showed that tonight,” said right winger Wayne Simmonds.
The two teams will lock horns in a pivotal Game 5 matchup at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday at noon. After having ended a three-year losing streak on the Rangers home ice in Game 2, the Flyers say they are confident that they come away with a win.
“That’s huge getting that win in New York the last time we played there,” Simmonds said. “It’s not on our minds anymore and we’re going to be focused on the game and making sure we do all the right things to be prepared for the game.”
On a night when the Flyers were out-shot by the Rangers 38-25, Mason, who hadn’t played in two weeks, was simply superb, especially after he allowed the game’s first goal by Rangers center Dominic Moore four minutes into the game. That would be New York’s first and only lead of the game. Mason slammed the door on the Rangers for the rest of the night.
“(Mason) played a great game, made some big saves and got some momentum for us when we were playing on our heels a little bit,” said Matt Read, who scored the Flyers first goal in the opening period. “He played a great 60 minutes, he battles in there and he does the right thing. It’s good to see him back and healthy.”
Mason also got help from a tenacious Flyers defense which blocked 14 shots and got physical with the Rangers when they approached the Flyers net. Even when the Flyers lost Nicklas Grossman for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury in the second period, Philadelphia was relentless on defense.
“They did a great job with the blocked shots and the guys picking up the slack after we lost (Grossman),” Mason said. “It’s a big loss. The guy logs a lot of minutes and blocks a lot of shots.
The guys picked up big where he would have left off. Those are the type of efforts come playoff time that you need to be successful.”
A more physical Flyers team came up really big early in the third period when the Rangers had a four-on-three power-play opportunity, but Mason, who had a stick save in that sequence, and the defense successfully killed the penalty.
“Our defense did a good job tonight,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “I thought they broke the puck out well. They were physical down low. Most of their chances were rushed chances and that’s the just coverage and the neutral zone. Our D battled hard and did what they had to do.”
On the offensive end, the Flyers did just enough scoring to win the game. Voracek’s goal with 12:38 left in the second period turned out to be the winning score. The score happened when he guided in a shot from Braydon Schenn into the goal past Rangers net-minder Henrik Lundqvist.
“I was wide open, Schenn made a good heads up play and I tipped it,” Voracek said.
After the Rangers took a 1-0 lead, the Flyers tied on the game on a goal by Read, who rebounded a shot from Jason Akeson that hit the board behind the Rangers net. Read shot it over the left glove of Lindqvist.