Thursday, March 12, 2015

Murder for the money: Mason can't save Flyers from SO loss to Blues

St. Louis, MO -- Steve Mason finally let some frustration out during an unemotional series of comments told through a glazed expression following Tuesday's 2-1 home loss to the Dallas Stars.

One wonders what's in store for his teammates after a second consecutive start where the offense in front of him was equally as hard to find as justice in nearby Ferguson.

In the end, the twin terrors of T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the shootout, ruining a brilliant 35-save effort by Mason in regulation and overtime, and St. Louis claimed a 1-0 decision over Philadelphia at Scottrade Center.

Brian Elliott turned aside 28 shots for the Blues, who provided head coach Ken Hitchcock with his 700th win as a head coach against the team which he led from 2002-2006.

Hitchcock's record with his current club stretched to 167-74-25. He won 277 games with Dallas (1996-2002), 131 for Philadelphia and 125 guiding Columbus (2006-10).

Mason was credited with his third shutout of the year, but lost his second 1-0 shootout result for the Flyers, who suffered a similar defeat in their last trip to St. Louis back on Apr. 1.

This latest setback came on the heels of Boston's 3-2 shootout win against Tampa Bay earlier in the night, pushing the Orange and Black further towards the brink of elimination at 10 points back with 13 games remaining.

What's more, is that the Flyers' stretch of futility in one of the toughest locales in the Western Conference has reached a span of 149:32 of game action. It's a trivia question for sure -- Danny Briere was the last player to score in St. Louis, as his goal early in the third period of an eventual 2-1 overtime loss took place on Oct. 9, 2010. 

Mason, for all his contortions, nonetheless fell to 1-10-6 on the road this year despite having a 2.76 goals-against average and .907 save percentage away from the Wells Fargo Center.

The Philadelphia netminder stopped all 16 shots he faced through two periods, then came up with 19 more through the game's final 25 minutes.

Mason's best stop occurred just after the midway point of the third. He dove from left to right to rob Jaden Schwartz -- who had an open net at which to shoot after a slick pass from Tarasenko -- by smothering the puck with his right pad.

Elliott had to be sharp late as well, turning away a right-circle drive from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare halfway through overtime and stopping Carlo Colaiacovo from the left wing on the next shift.

Philly failed to solve Elliott despite three power-play chances in the opening period.

Mason turned away a Paul Stastny chance and immediately sprawled across his crease to rob Dmitrij Jaskin before the eight-minute mark of the second...

Alex Steen appeared to have given his club a lead, but while he beat Mason, the puck struck the right post flush on a power play with 40 seconds before the second intermission.

Notes: Hitchcock joined Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (782) and Joel Quenneville (745) as the only head coaches in NHL history to win at least 700 regular-season games ... St. Louis improved to 9-3 in shootouts and Philadelphia fell to 3-8 ... Mason also wound up on the wrong side of a 1-0 game decided in a shootout back on Nov. 24 at Uniondale, where he stopped all 46 Islanders chances ... Prior to the contest, the Flyers announced the signing of former Cornell forward Cole Bardreau to an entry-level contract.
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