Flyers on penalty kill and Mason
The Stars' top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin combined for nine points against the Flyers on Saturday. (AP)
DALLAS -- They got torched.
The Stars may not be an imposing club in the Western Conference, but they certainly have a respected top line in Tyler Seguin centering Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin.
They destroyed the Flyers on Saturday with four goals and nine points during a 5-1 rout (see story). They were plus-4 against the Flyers, too.
Seguin had a natural hat trick in the second period when the Stars tied the Flyers, 1-1, then quickly iced things.
Sean Couturier’s line and even Claude Giroux’s line took turns against Seguin, which is why Giroux’s line was minus-9 collectively while Couturier’s line was minus-6.
“Their top line has a lot of speed,” said goalie Steve Mason, who gave up four goals on 26 shots. It was his first game as a Flyer that Mason yielded four goals.
“Two players who have really come into their own,” Mason said, referring to Benn and Seguin. “We just didn’t have our best effort this afternoon.”
Indeed, the Flyers lost every foot race, every board battle, and didn’t help Mason enough, even blocking his vision (Couturier and Kimmo Timonen) on Dallas’ second goal by Seguin for a 2-1 lead.
That was part of the Stars’ outburst in which they scored three goals in 62 seconds.
“There was a minute-half span and three goals go in,” Mason said shaking his head. “It kind of put us back on our heels and we were never able to recover after that.
“You don’t realize how quickly things happen till it’s too late. They were able to take advantage of plays. When you let three goals in during a game, let alone a minute, it doesn’t bode well for the outcome of the game.”
And it didn’t.
“I thought we had trouble with their speed, that one line, especially,” coach Craig Berube said. “We didn’t do a good enough job with our high forward and our defense had bad gaps.
“It was a combination. We let them come at us too much in the second period. There was a problem.”
Dallas had multiple 2-on-1s. Mason only gave up one goal off a 2-on-1, odd-man rush.
“We had a lot of bad decisions that we hadn’t made in a lot of games,” Scott Hartnell said. “Our defense was pinching and our F3 (high forward) wasn’t there.
“Our reloads weren’t good enough. That’s why they got four or five odd-man rushes. Without Mason making six or seven unbelievable saves it could have been 9-1 after the second.”
It remains unknown whether the fact the Flyers were unable to practice for two straight days because of travel and the massive ice storm that crippled all of North Texas had an affect on how the Flyers played.
Certainly, it didn’t help get their legs moving.
“A lot of guys came early [to the rink] to get warmed up,” Hartnell said. “Especially with all the snow and ice on the streets, you couldn’t go for a walk. The city basically shut down.
“You can’t make excuses. You have to be prepared and I thought we were playing OK in the first period but in the second period, it wasn’t just one guy, everyone didn’t play the game right.”
Practice, practice? We talking about practice?
“I don’t know,” Giroux said. “That is just excuses.”
Seguin’s natural hat trick was the first scored against the Flyers since Tampa Bay’s Fredrik Modin did it on Jan. 28, 2006, in a 6-0 Lightning rout at the Wells Fargo Center.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Dallas’ three goals in 62 seconds during the second period are the third-fastest set of three goals ever scored against the Flyers. What was faster?
• 0:42 on Nov. 23, 1991, vs. New Jersey at the Spectrum.
• 0:56 on March 14, 1986, at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.
One more thing
Couturier celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday, too. He got a misconduct penalty late in the game to go along with it.