Chris Mason had his game of the year tonight as he stoned the conference leading Flyers for 43 saves in the Thrashers’ 1-0 win. With his only help coming from an Evander Kane bank shot off of Nik Antropov’s skate halfway through the third period, Mason made 19 saves in the third period to shut the Flyers out for the first time since their embarrassing 7-0 loss against the Rangers. The Thrashers’ third win on the year against the Flyers was their first win in regulation and drops the Flyers’ record to 46-21-10.
Evidently charged from Tuesday night’s win in Pittsburgh, the Flyers came out swinging. In addition to drawing Dustin Byfuglien into a minor for holding, Philly posted the first six shots of the game. After failing to convert on their own power play, the orange and black watched Atlanta not convert on their first two power play opportunities.
A Ville Leino interference 4:15 into regulation followed up by a Nick Boynton hook six minutes later stopped any momentum Philly had from the opening moments.
As the momentum shifted to Atlanta’s side later in the period, Sergei Bobrovsky’s ability to make a couple crucial saves kept the score even at zero as the first period ended.
After a too many men on the ice call and an Andrej Meszaros roughing call, the Flyers earned their first power-play opportunity of the second period. An Anthony Stewart roughing minor, stemming from the Flyers’ first chance of the period, was shortened due to a Kris Versteeg trip on Andrew Ladd in Philly’s defensive zone. The teams played four-on-four for 24 seconds.
Killing off their fifth penalty of the night, the Flyers experienced their third power-play opportunity of the night with an Kane boarding call with just 68 seconds left in the middle period. Unable to bang home a power-play goal before the end of the period, or break the scoreless tie, the Flyers carried the remaining 52 seconds in Kane’s penalty over to the third period.
Opening the third period, Atlanta was able to kill off the rest of Kane’s penalty, but found themselves shorthanded shortly afterwards as Tobias Enstrom went to the box for holding. The Flyers’ fourth power play on the night ended up goalless yet again.
In what looked like a rather clean hit, Danny Briere found himself in the box for what the refs deemed interference at the six minute mark of the period. Similar to the other nine power-play opportunities within the game, the Flyers couldn’t muster a goal to take the lead.
Naturally, the first goal in this scoreless affair halfway through the third period would be an ugly one. Blowing by Braydon Coburn, Kane skated along the boards to Bob’s right. Throwing the puck into the slot, Kane banked in a goal off of Antropov’s skate. Antropov’s 15th on the season never hit his stick, but gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with only 9:38 left to play in regulation.
Despite receiving another power play due to a Ron Hainsey tripping minor, the Flyers couldn’t find the game-tying goal as they out shot Atlanta 13-2 after Antropov’s goal. Jeff Carter hit the right post with four seconds left as the Thrashers squeaked their way to their first ever 1-0 win in Philly.
Displaying some urgency early and very late in the game, the Flyers didn’t show a lot of emotion for a team that just won a crucial divisional game two days earlier. Unable to net a single goal against the back up for a team not going to the playoffs, the orange and black couldn’t make progress in their pursuit for the Atlantic division title.
Notes: This is the seventh time this season the Flyers have been shut out; third time Atlanta has ever shut out Philly (first time in Philly). Since Antero Niittymaki left after the 2008-2009 season, the Flyers have gone 1-5-2 against Atlanta; Bobrovsky is now 1-1-1 in his career against the Thrashers. Antropov’s goal was his ninth career goal against Philly. Chris Mason is 4-1-1 against the Flyers in his career; he was 2-0-0 against Philly this season. The Flyers went 1-1-2 against the Thrashers on the season; They were 0-4-0 against Atlanta last season. Philly went 10-6-4 against the Southeast division in the 2010-2011 regular season (WSH 2-0-2, TBL 1-3-0, CAR 3-1-0, ATL 1-1-2, FLA 3-1-0); they were 10-10-0 against the Southeast last season (WSH 1-3-0, ATL 0-4-0, CAR 4-0-0, TBL 4-0-0, FLA 1-3-0).