Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mason allows Flyers to gain point in loss to Sharks

Philadelphia,  PA -- Somehow, despite the mathematical probability of making the playoffs dwindles each and every night, the Orange and Black insist on dragging each game out to its illogical conclusion.

Despite missing four regulars due to injury and illness, on Saturday afternoon in South Philly things weren't decided until Brent  Burns scored the winner in the fifth  round  of  the  shootout  as  San  Jose  claimed  a  3-2  victory  over Philadelphia.

Matt Irwin and Joe Pavelski lit the lamp for the Sharks, who improved to 3-3-0 on their seven-game road trip which concludes on Sunday in Pittsburgh.  Alex  Stalock  only needed to  make 16 saves in  regulation and halted four of five Philly chances in the game's terminal segment.

Michael  Raffl  and Claude Giroux  provided offense  for the Flyers, losers in five  of  their last six  games and teetering on  the edge of being eliminated from playoff contention.

Steve Mason took the loss despite stopping 42-of-44 shots. It was the 25 time the club's starter has faced at least 30 shots in a game, and fell to 10-8-7 in those games. That he was able to squeeze a point in 18 of those contests is a minor miracle.

There's six games left in the regular season and the Flyers, who fell to 3-10 in shootouts this season, has ample chance to set a new franchise record for most games played beyond regulation. Today was their 24th, tying a record set in 1998-99.

Mason looked powerless as Burns finished off the final round with several stick moves which resulted in a successful backhander.

Jake Voracek scored on the hosts' first shot, but the veritable Murderer's Row of Giroux, Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Vinny Lecavalier failed to dent Stalock.

Irwin's  blast made  it through  traffic  and past  Mason just  4:38 into  the contest,  but Raffl  popped home a loose puck from a Nicklas Grossmann rebound at 6:44.

San  Jose  went up 2-1 with  3:15 left in the  first as a turnaround shot from behind  the goal  line by Pavelski deflected off Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto's  leg and  trickled through Mason. A brief review apparently determined the puck crossed the line before the whistle blew to stop play.

Mason then kept it a one-goal spread by stopping a short-handed breakaway from Logan Couture with 8:40 to play in the second.

Subbing  for  the injured Wayne  Simmonds, Ryan White missed  an open net on a power  play with  just over  seven  minutes played  in the  third, but  Giroux channeled Alex Ovechkin and fired from the left circle through a screen to tie things with 11:23 left.

The Sharks failed to click on an overtime power play, then Couture misfired on a backhander with an open net ahead of him in the final seconds.

Notes: San  Jose extended  its  win streak  to  seven  games and  run  of success  in Philadelphia  to eight (7 wins, 1 tie) since a loss on Dec. 21, 2000 ... Raffl hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his North American career and first since reaching the mark while playing for Leksands in Sweden two years ago ...
Flyers  defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Mark Streit were scratched due to flu-like  symptoms,  while defensemen  Oliver Lauridsen and  Mark Alt, and forward Jason  Akeson  were recalled  by  the  Flyers  from  the AHL  under  emergency conditions. Alt, a Minnesota product, made his NHL debut ... All three players were loaned back to the Phantoms following the contest.

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