Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mason matches Vanbiesbrouck in blanking Ottawa

Ottawa, ON -- Steve Mason stopped all 24 shots which came his way for his first shutout with Philadelphia, as the Flyers turned in a 5-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Mason recorded his 20th career whitewash and first since Mar. 1, 2012 against Colorado. He distinguished himself as the second Flyers goaltender to record a shutout in Ottawa. John Vanbiesbrouck was the only other one to accomplish the feat with 36 saves in a 5-0 decision on Jan. 18, 1999.

The former Calder Trophy winner still couldn't garner any respect from the decision makers at Canadian Tire Centre, as he was shut out of the Three Star selection.

That doesn't do much to diminish his 5-7-1 record, 2.15 goals-against average and .930 save percentage -- all of which might point to an impending start in the second of back-to-back road games in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Jakub Voracek tallied twice, with Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Vincent Lecavalier once each for the Flyers, who recorded back-to-back wins for just the second time this season thanks to tying a season-high in offensive output.

"They played strong from the start of the game to the end,” Philly head coach Craig Berube said. “I was really impressed with the system play and their skating…I don’t know if it takes pressure off of anyone. The top line has to score. That’s the way it is. They’re starting to produce now and we’re getting results because of it.”

Craig Anderson returned from a neck injury to man the crease for his first start since Nov. 3, and made 26 saves for the Senators, who had won three in a row.

"My job is to give the team a chance to win, and I didn't do that," Anderson lamented. "It's right there in black and white. I've got to look at myself in the mirror and figure out how to do better."

Capping almost an entire shift in the Ottawa zone, Steve Downie launched a shot from the left circle that went high and wide. Read picked up the puck and stuffed it home from the left post with 3:36 remaining in the first period.

Just over a minute later, Anderson did the splits to deny a Voracek chance. Mason did his part to maintain the one-goal edge after one period with 10 saves.

The Czech winger did double the visitors' advantage at the 28-second mark of the second period, fooling Anderson on another wraparound, this one at the right post. He lit the lamp again, with 9:27 on the period clock, putting a wrister home on a power play from his usual spot in the right circle.

Lecavalier provided a four-goal bulge for the Flyers just prior to the eight- minute mark of the third, and when Schenn tipped in a Lecavalier offering during a power play, Philly equaled its highest offensive output of the season for a 5-0 game.

"I think we kind of got back to the basics," Read said. "We're just winning puck battles along the boards and those little things turn into victories."

Ottawa had a goal waved off with 5:41 left in the contest, when a point drive from Zack Smith was deflected in by Chris Neil with a high stick. A quick replay confirmed the on-ice call as correct.

Mason finished off his milestone with eight saves in the second and six more in the final 20 minutes of action.

“We had 20 giveaways, five goals against (and) two on the power play,” said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. “There’s only 20 guys in Philadelphia who are happy with their game."

Notes: Mason made 33 saves in his previous clean sheet against the Avalanche ... The Flyers also lit the lamp five times in a 5-2 win at Uniondale on Oct. 26 ... Voracek posted his seventh career two-goal game and first since Mar. 7 vs. the Penguins ... Claude Giroux picked up his 300th career point in his 350th game with the franchise ... With his primary assist on Voracek's first score, Scott Hartnell picked up his first assist in 36 games, dating back to Mar. 13 vs. the Devils ... The Flyers have won three of their last four games in Canada's capital after having lost seven in a row from November of 2008 to April of 2011.

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