Steve Mason is generally not fan of shootouts. And he’s certainly not a fan of being on the losing end of them, as he was on Thursday night.
Mason took responsibility for the Flyers' 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators –- whether he deserved to or not.
“The guys gave me two opportunities to win the game, and I couldn’t do it,” he said. “So I let them down tonight.”
Predictably, though, his teammates didn’t see it that way.
“I don’t think it’s his fault,” Andrej Meszaros said. “He was great, we just didn’t play well enough to win. We didn’t play really well, and we had to come back again, and this time it didn’t work. You can’t play like that every time. You want to play with the lead, and the last few games, it’s not happening. It’s going to be tough during games like that.”
Mason stopped four of the shooters he faced, but allowed three goals. Only Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier were able to beat Predators goalie Carter Hutton.
“I don’t think he can worry about that,” Wayne Simmonds said. “He’s been saving our butts all year. It has nothing to do with him. We should have played a more solid 60 minutes in front of him.”
And the coach? Does he believe any blame belongs on Mason’s shoulders?
“No,” Craig Berube said. “It’s a team effort.”
Simmonds’ strong night
Simmonds put in yet another strong performance against the Predators, registering a goal and two assists. It was his second consecutive multi-point game and seventh of the season.
“He does a great job around the net, Simmer,” Berube said. “And he ended up getting that big goal, got us a point. He’s been very consistent for a while now, the whole line has.”
Simmonds now has 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in his last 15 games. He credits his linemates for the recent success.
“I would say I feel good, but it has to go to the team and my linemates,” he said. “Me and Hartsy [Scott Hartnell] and [Brayden] Schenn have been playing together for probably the last month and we’ve been playing well. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those guys.”
The save of the season
Michael Raffl was charging in on the Predators’ net with the puck in his position. Hutton was caught out of position -- and out of the net entirely -- thanks to a strange bounce on a wraparound behind the goal.
But somehow, Raffl didn’t score. Hutton lunged across the net to make the stop.
“I would rather call it a miss,” Raffl said. “I had the open net. The puck was bouncing right on my blade. He [David Legwand] just got a stick on me a little bit. It changed direction. I wasn’t aiming there. You got to give him credit. It was a desperate save. It was a nice save, I guess.”
Meszaros’ scoring touch
Meszaros didn’t have his strongest defensive performance of the season Thursday, but he has recaptured his offensive prowess lately.
The Flyers’ defenseman registered a goal and an assist against the Predators. He has seven points in his last five games.
“He’s confident with the puck,” Berube said. “He’s doing good things at the blue line with it, jumping up in the play like he did on that goal. He’s got confidence.”
The game was the Flyers’ seventh shootout of the season. They’re now 3-4 in shootouts in 2013-14. … Thursday’s loss was the Flyers’ first loss to the Predators at the Wells Fargo Center since 2006. … Claude Giroux was 73 percent (16 for 22) on faceoffs. … The Flyers have scored a power-play goal in four consecutive games and six of their last seven.
Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise.
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night.
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.
A power play hat trick.
Now that is truly something you don’t see every day in hockey.
Brayden Schenn is one of the very few Flyers to ever do it.
“Third [goal] was a lucky play where he [Jakub Voracek] broke a stick,” Schenn said. “Right place at the right time.”
Schenn’s diving third goal at 17:45 gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead and insured their eight-game win streak Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Only four other Flyers have had power play hat tricks in franchise history:
• Tim Kerr vs. Los Angeles, November 3, 1985
• Tim Kerr vs. Chicago, November 20, 1986
• Brian Propp at Minnesota, October 13, 1988
• Scott Hartnell at NY Islanders, January 19, 2008
Schenn pretty much doubled his offense in one game given he had just four goals coming in, and just one over his previous 13 games.
Think that’s something?
Voracek had his second consecutive four-point game (empty net goal, three assists). The last Flyer to do that was Eric Lindros on Dec. 31, 1997 and Jan. 3, 1998.
Voracek has piled up 15 points during this Flyers streak. He’s got the blazing hot stick on this club right now.
“I don’t think I have necessarily changed my game,” Voracek said. “If I went without a point a couple weeks back, I’m not playing any different now. When you stick with it, work hard, the points eventually are gonna come.”
In this one, the Flyers changed up their power play moving Voracek into the right slot and having Schenn closer to the net on the opposite side.
“Sometimes it is open [the pass] and sometimes it’s not,” Voracek said of how team’s kill penalties. “Schenner had a free stick a couple times. I’m glad it worked.”
Just like other games during this streak, and the season itself, the Flyers had to come from behind.
They trailed 1-0 early and 2-1 in the third period before Schenn scored back-to-back on the No. 2-ranked power play which went 3-for-6 on the day.
“Coming out in the third period, you see determination,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “That’s the word I would use. Just as an overall group, no matter what the situation is. Very tight, close hockey game all the way through.
“Different parts of our game have pushed us over the finish line on different nights. Most of our game was pretty good all the way through and when needed, the PP was the difference tonight.”
There’s a certain amount of confidence right now with the Flyers. Trailing doesn’t scare them. It invigorates them. They know it. They feel it on the bench.
“You have confidence that you’ve done it over and over again, you can do it again,” Voracek said. “It was a big chance to tie the game and we did. Big points for us. We never give up.”
The Flyers came into play two points behind second place Pittsburgh in the Metro Division.
Hakstol says Voracek’s play has been “pretty consistent” all season.
“When you watch him most nights, very consistently without the puck, he is one of the hardest-working players getting back, reloading, getting on top of plays,” Hakstol said.
“Coming out of the offensive zone. When his line has the puck, or the PP unit, he is very confident in making plays.”
The Flyers had just 21 shots in this one, including only five in the second period. Their offense came in bunches.
Dallas had two goals from Devin Shore and led 2-1 at 10:32 of the final period before Schenn took over.
Steve Mason was the starter in net and looked fresher than he did against Edmonton. Mason starting was a surprise given this was the front end of a back-to-back. With Flyers playing in Detroit on Sunday, it seemed the perfect game to play Anthony Stolarz.
Give Mason a day of rest for a more important conference game tomorrow.
Mason asked to play, however, and most coaches won’t say no to a goalie who has now won a career-high seven in a row.
“It was fun to watch from the back end there,” Mason said of the game. “Power play in general and two late goals to get us over the hump.
“It’s fun right now to find different ways to come out on top. The boys aren’t satisfied. We keep pushing forward here.”