Thursday evening the Flyers held a banner ceremony for all time leading goal scorer, Bill Barber. Well that's one way to honor the best goal scorer in Flyers history. But try as they might, the Flyers couldn't beat journeyman netminder, Chris Mason. Despite getting 43 pucks on net the 34 year old Mason stopped them all, and the Flyers were shut out, 1-0.
The trick in this game seemed to be not having a let down after Tuesday's Atlantic division showdown with Pittsburgh. The Flyers played probably their best period of the season in the third on Tuesday evening. Could they carry that momentum into this matchup with the tee time bound Thrashers?
The Flyers came out with a ton of jump early. They even caused a Byfuglien penalty a mere :40 into the game. However, that mometum was quelled with a steady march to the penalty box by the orange and black. Although neither team cashed in on the man advantage in this game, it didn't allow the game to get a good flow to it.
Evander Kane would be a big story in this one. Late in the first defenseman Andrej Meszaros lined him up for a bone crunching hit. Kane saw him late and got his stick, elbow, and everything else into the face of Meszaros. It looked like a vicious cross czech. The Philadelphia faithful held their collective breath as Meszaros quickly made his way down the tunnel and into the locker room.
Much to the delight of the fans Andrej would return to start the second. Midway through the second Meszaros would be scorned again by the Thrashers winger. Kane tried to slip by #41. Meszaros stuck his arm out to impede him. Evander threw his head back as if he was stuck with some lead from a shotgun blast and drew a "roughing" penalty. And the oscar goes to.....The penalty kill played well tonight and the subsequent power play was no threat. The Flyers proceeded to outshoot Atlanta 14-8 in the second stanza, but the period ended with the score deadlocked at 0-0.
The third featured more shotty officiating on both sides. The Flyers seemingly outplayed Atlanta in the third. They even managed to outshoot them 19-8 in the final frame. But yet again it was Evander Kane who boiled the blood of the Flyer's faithful. Kane took the puck down the left wing and blew past the fleet footed Braydon Coburn. Evander roared past the Flyers defenseman and slid the disc into the slot. Despite Richards' best efforts on the back check, the puck ricocheted off of Nik Antropov's skate and past Bobrovsky.
The Flyers threw their best effort at the 34 year old Mason , but he repeatedly turned them away in the waning minutes of Thursday's affair. Mason also got a little help from his "equipment" on a Jeff Carter chance with under a minute to go. Carter found himself all alone to the left of Mason and fired the bouncing puck squarely off old iron-side. That would be the best chance the Flyers would get and couldn't capitalize to take the game into overtime.
This was definitely a game that left Flyers fans wondering. Where was the goal scoring? Where was the effort? Why couldn't Carter bury his chance? Hogwash.
The Flyers put together an effort that deserved a win. Jeff Carter had a rolling puck and a split second to fire it. He also had his back to the net. Before you go flipping out about Jeff. Don't forget he has more goals than everyone in the NHL except for Perry, Stamkos, D. Sedin, Iginla, and Kesler.
Also every once in awhile you have "the game". Chris Mason had his tonight. Even a 34 year old journeyman netminder can catch lightning in a bottle. And that was the case tonight. Chris Mason had his "game". All you can do is tip your hat to him, applaud the effort, and move on. What else can you do?
So good on ya, Chris. It was quite an effort.
The Flyers move on to the Devils tomorrow night. They head to the Rock leading the season series 3-2. The Flyers also have the chance to mathematically eliminate their long time rivals, once and for all, from post season contention. Look for the Devils to come out hard and fast in front of their home town fans.
This is a very important game for the Flyers as well. They now stand only one point ahead of the hard charging Capitals. This Eastern Conference race will come down to the last few games of the season.
The question is, do the Flyers have what it takes to hold on?
Only time will tell.
Until next time, LET'S GO FLYERS!!!!!!