Steve Mason made 36 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Jets Friday night. (USA Today Images)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- As bad as it was to see a point the Flyers had fought hard to get to complete a perfect road trip, they'll feel pretty good about themselves this weekend.
Five out of six points on the road is outstanding. Things are falling in place for Craig Berube’s club, which is 6-3-2 in its last 11 games after Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss (see Instant Replay).
“It was a good road trip,” Berube said. “I would have liked to get that one tonight. I thought we sat back too much in the third period.”
Team captain Claude Giroux thought the trip was good and bad.
“You look at the big picture and [the trip] was something to be proud of,” he said. “At the same time, we need those points to climb back into the playoffs.
“We didn’t play well for two periods. We had the lead and sat back too much.”
The Flyers remain four points out of a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.
The Jets had the Flyers backpedaling in the third period, as the Flyers seemed to be relying too much on goalie Steve Mason bailing them out.
Even though the Flyers dominated the overtime period, it wasn’t to be.
“Anytime you can get five of six points, it’s pretty good,” Mason said. “Moving forward we put ourselves in a good position.
“We got to find ways to close out hockey games going into the third period with a lead. Time winding down, you have to close things out. We need a better third period.”
You could look at the penalty Steve Downie took (see story), or you could blame the penalty killers for giving up two power-play goals or the entire team for trying to protect a one-goal lead instead of going for the jugular.
Berube thinks all three were factors but …
“The third periods this year, in general, are not where they need to be,” he said. “Tonight is one of those periods. I didn’t see enough.”
What he has seen, though, is an abundance of confidence from this club suddenly that wasn’t there last month.
“Team confidence,” Berube said. “They believe they can win games. They play like it. I still think we need to push more. We had that lead in the third. Whether we sat back or tired, I just think we can be more aggressive.
“You got to go and force the issue and attack the other team. You can’t sit back like that. We had a power play there and it wasn’t very good, and we could have put the game away.”
Mason said the Flyers scoring goals has changed the atmosphere in the locker room.
“When guys finally get to score, you feel good about yourself,” he said. “When you are able to keep rolling over and play lots of games, guys will have that momentum carry over in a positive way.
“In the big picture, it was a good trip. But we could have had the six points and that’s the frustrating thing.”