In his coaching debut, Craig Berube helped the Philadelphia Flyers squeak out a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers for the team’s first victory of the 2013-2014 campaign. Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn produced goals in the first period that proved to be enough, while Steve Mason was impressive in the win with a 33-save performance.
The story of the game for the Orange and Black in their first contest under their new head coach was Mason’s performance paired with their inability to exit their own zone.
“At times I did, and at times I didn’t,” said Berube when asked about if he saw an improvement in being more responsible defensively and the team’s overall effort. “We gave them some opportunities and Mase came up big for us.” The former Flyer didn’t sound too pleased about the victory, as it seems his club still needs some help.
Mason came up with several huge saves, including a point blank chance from Aleksander Barkov in the final minute of the first period and a stop on Shawn Matthias’ shorthanded breakaway early in the second period. The former Columbus Blue Jacket bailed out his teammates several times throughout the night. Whether or not the Flyers and their faithful can expect this out of the netminder on a nightly basis has yet to be decided.
As for the forwards and defensemen, it looked like another sloppy game. If it wasn’t for Tim Thomas’ two goofs early, they could have found themselves down by one or more entering the third period. For a team that just owned up to getting their head coach fired, they came out rather flat. Berube did say, however, he wanted to focus more on the defensive side of things. The lack of scoring will be a problem regardless of whom the coach is or who the Flyers are playing.
Despite spending the majority of the first period in their own end of the ice, the Flyers entered the second period up by a pair of goals. The two tallies in the first 7:31 of the tilt weren’t exactly impressive.
The game’s first goal came on a lucky bounce off the end boards, as Jakub Voracek caused a turnover in the neutral zone and flew into the Panthers’ zone before releasing a shot wide right of Thomas. The disc bounced off the boards and into the slot before Thomas had time to turn around and ultimately get back in the cage before the younger Schenn brother deposited his second goal of the 2013-2014 season.
Just under three seconds later, Coburn was the benefactor of a Thomas injury, as the blue liner was able to toss the puck into essentially a wide-open net. After Sean Couturier took a shot wide of the net that slide around the boards to Coburn at the point, Thomas fell to the ice and momentarily sat down just outside the crease. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, he wasn’t able to return to the crease in time to stop Coburn’s shot, which resulted in the Flyers grabbing a 2-0 lead.
In the second period, Brad Boyes was able to make it a one-goal game for the Panthers, as he tickled the twine with six seconds left in the middle frame. After a shot from Brian Campbell at the point was blocked by Luke Schenn, Mason dropped to the ice in an effort to make a play. Unfortunately for Schenn and Mason, the puck found its way to Boyes at the bottom of the circle to Mason’s right and the former New York Islander put it in the back of the net.
The third period featured an undisciplined double minor from Jay Rosehill, as the enforcer earned a pair of minor infractions for roughing. After being called for the original roughing minor, Rosehill saw a teammate in distress, as they were being taunted by a few Panthers. The former Toronto Maple Leaf decided to come over and throw his weight around, but ultimately earned himself another minor.
When new head coach Berube was asked about if Rosehill was going to be disciplined by him later for nearly costing his team the lead, he had a simple reply.
“You want me to spank him?”
Berube proceeded to say his team did fine in killing the penalty and Rosehill knows he can’t be taking the second unnecessary minor.
A five-minute power play was awarded to the Flyers after Rosehill’s double minor, as Erik Gudbranson earned a major penalty for boarding Scott Hartnell halfway through the period. Philly wasn’t able to capitalize on the lengthy man advantage, which resulted in a tense 4:59 to finish the tilt.
Philly will have a few days to settle in with their new coach before they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
Notes: The Flyers improved to 2-1-1 against the Panthers over the last two seasons and to 45-26-7-3 overall against the Panthers in 81 regular season meetings…Mason stopped 33 or more shots and allowed one goal or less for the first time this season. His last game with similar stats was last year’s season finale, where he allowed one goal on 44 shots to the Ottawa Senators…Philly improved to 1-1-0 when scoring first and when leading after one period…Tonight’s win marked the first time the team scored more than one goal in a game this season and the first time they led entering the third period…Mason was the first star of the game, Jacob Markstrom was second, and Max Talbot was third…Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson, and Kris Newbury were scratched for the Flyers. Joey Crabb, Krys Barch, and Matt Gilroy were scratched for Florida…Kris Versteeg was minus-1 with five shots on net in 17:40 TOI against his former team. Scottie Upshall had one shot and one hit in 12:04 TOI…Barkov had an assist and two shots while going minus-1 in 11:20 TOI in his first game against the Flyers…Philly improved to 1-2-0 against the Atlantic Division this season and to 1-3-0 against the Eastern Conference…The Flyers improved to 1-3-0. They were 1-3-0 after four games last season.