Steve Mason shines vs. Oilers, finally gets 1st win



Jakub Voracek nearly had himself a natural hat trick. Carlo Colaiacovo had a smooth debut on the blue line. And the Flyers' penalty kill remained absolutely perfect on home ice, killing four power plays for 17 consecutive kills at home this season.
All of that was “good stuff,” as coaches say, in the Flyers' 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Yet nothing was as important as this: Starting goalie Steve Mason finally notched his first win this season in his seventh try.
“Nice to get it, definitely,” Mason, who had 35 saves, said with relief in his voice. “You try to look at the big picture when things are not going well. It does wear on you. It’s nice to get the first one.”
The only bad news as the Flyers improved to 5-5-2 was Michael Raffl blocking a shot in the third period and not returning. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday (see story).
Unlike so many other times this season, the Flyers jumped on the teetering Oilers, who were without a couple players, including Taylor Hall (knee injury), by scoring early.
Voracek’s first goal came at 3:59 on a nifty wraparound move to the right post that seemed to surprise goalie Viktor Fasth. He added another in the final four minutes of the period when Michael Del Zotto’s blocked shot caromed to him.
Voracek steadied the puck with his skate then ripped it home from the slot for his fourth goal and sixth multi-point game of the year.
In between there, he ripped one off the post which would have been a natural hatter.
“It was close,” said Voracek, who remains a point behind Sidney Crosby (19 points) for the NHL scoring lead. “Most important, we had a good start to the game. We were buzzing in the offensive zone. Scored two goals. An important two points for us.”
Before the second period was even five minutes old, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare ended a four-game goal drought with his second off a tip for a 3-0 pad that Mason could relax upon. For a while, anyway.
Mason faced 26 shots through 40 minutes then survived the Oilers’ third-period push when Edmonton got back-to-back power plays.
Three saves by Mason -- two on Nail Yakupov -- during the first power play were pivotal as it was 4-1 and the Oilers were looking for any excuse to get into the game.
“It’s great to see Mase get that first win. He was outstanding -- he was our best player,” Voracek said.
The third period itself was one of the best the Flyers have put together in 12 games, coach Craig Berube said.
“We killed a couple penalties with Mason making some good saves,” he said. “I thought once we killed those, we started to penetrate more. Get pucks in and a little more intensity in the game.
“I thought the first two periods were not casual, but sloppy at times for me, with not enough attack. We had more attack in the third.”
Del Zotto has steadily gotten better on the blue line and you can actually see the confidence he lost over the last few seasons starting to build in the way he gets up ice and makes plays.
He had one bad turnover that Mason bailed him out on, but his numbers on the night were solid: An assist, plus-1, six hits, three blocked shots and 23:17 in ice time, the highest of any Flyer.
“This was huge for us,” Del Zotto said. “We had to move forward. … I’ve said from Day 1, as each day goes on, come out with a good mind set and work hard and get better each day. I’m still new to the team, trying to build chemistry and get used to guys.”
Colaiacovo (plus-1), making his Flyers debut, played 16:50 and did a nice job off the rush, though his shot timing was a tad off as three were blocked.
“That one in the second period, I saw daylight, all I saw was net,” he said. “The D-man kinda got tripped up and it hit the back of his leg.
“I was kinda upset it didn’t go in because it was a great [setup] by Jake. … You gotta find the right spots and opportunities and for me, that’s the way I like to play.”
On this night, just about everything went right for the Flyers.

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