Flyers Notes: Akeson scores, Mason shines in finale

Flyers Notes: Akeson scores, Mason shines in finale

April 28, 2013, 9:00 am
OTTAWA – It's not every day a hometown boy gets to make his NHL debut in front of his entire family but it happened Saturday night for Jason Akeson.
 
“It’s pretty exciting for me and my family,” Akeson said. “My dad wanted it as much as I did.”
 
And his mother, Patricia Wheatley, also attended the game. She is in remission from bone cancer that also attacked muscles in her arms.
 
Akeson gave her a present, too: he scored off a rebound in opening period for his first NHL goal. It was his first shot on goalie Craig Anderson. High, under the crossbar.
 
The Flyers won, 2-1 (see story).
 
Talk about fairy-tale endings to a season.
 
“It feels pretty good,” Akeson said.  “It's pretty exciting.  The puck popped out there on a nice play by G (Claude Giroux) and luckily I was able to put it home.  
 
“I know my family and friends are here and are probably loving it just as much as I am right now.  It's fun to experience this.  I don't know what else I can say.  I'm pretty speechless right now.
 
The 22-year-old grew up a Senators fan, following Daniel Alfredsson.
 
“It’s pretty special,” Akeson said. “I never thought my first game would come here in Ottawa. I’m just happy to have my first game, period. But to have my friends and family watching, it’s pretty special.
 
“You dream of this. I grew up watching these guys play and a chance to go up against them is special.”
 
The 5-foot-10 Akeson was born in Orleans on the East side of Ottawa. Some of his relatives drove here from Toronto, as well.
 
“You only get one chance on a first impression,” he said. “I obviously want to make a mark.”
 
On Saturday, Akeson played on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
 
Akeson, who played for Trenton last fall in the ECHL, scored 20 goals with 53 points this season at the Phantoms. He had 55 points in the AHL the year before.
 
“This is an opportunity to get a look at somebody who has been our top point producer in the minors for the last two years,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
 
“He’s a talented kid. We get to see what he can do.”
 
Incidentally, Giroux’s assist was his 200th in the league.
 
Mason milestone
Goalie Steve Mason had 43 saves against the Senators and earned his 100th career NHL victory.
 
He had a very strong opening period with 14 saves, including a handful that were on very good scoring chances in front.
 
He simply got stronger as the game went on. He robbed Milan Michalek with 5:20 left in third on what should have been a tying goal.
 
“It was a great game,” Mason said. “These are the type of games the opposition gets a lot of shots. And the goaltender is asked to come up [big]. But at the same time, we battled through."
 
Since arriving at the trade deadline, Mason is 4-2 with a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage in seven games. He said the experience is going to do wonders for him next season.
 
“It’s great to end the season on high note,” he said. “Coming into Columbus this season, I just never got my feet under me.
 
“Coming here I felt like it was a complete rebirth. Come to the rink happy and full of confidence. I’m really happy to be here.”

His 43 saves were the most by a Flyers goalie since Sergei Bobrovsky made 43 saves at Pittsburgh on April 1, 2012.  It's the most he's made in a game since he had 47 saves for Columbus in a 4-3 win at Anaheim on November 19, 2010.
 
The last Flyers goalie to make 43 or more saves while only allowing one goal in the game was Antero Niittymaki, who made 47 saves on 48 shots in a 7-1 win vs. Washington on December 20, 2008. 
 
Loose pucks
Luke Schenn recorded eight hits to finish with 187.  He was nine short of the 196 hits Darroll Powe recorded in the 2010-11 season, which is the most any Flyer has recorded since the NHL has been tracking the stat. ... The Flyers finished the season with a 23-22-3 record, marking the first time all season that they’ve had a record above .500.

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