NHL

Mason shuts down Leafs; Flyers win fourth straight

The Flyers came in to Saturday’s game against a desperate Toronto Maple Leafs team. Steve Mason shut the door on the Leafs, handing them their ninth straight loss and the Flyers fourth straight win. A Michael Del Zotto goal was all the Flyers needed in the 1-0 victory.

The game started off slow for both teams with only six shots in the game’s first four minutes. The Flyers would take control of the game courtesy of Del Zotto. Petr Straka entered the offensive zone and sent a pass over to Del Zotto. He was able to fight off the back checking of Daniel Winnik and lift a shot that beat goaltender James Reimer on the far right post.

The Flyers would come close to scoring on a power play about a minute later. A shot by Vincent Lecavalier trickled along the goal line before Reimer swatted it away with his glove.

Toronto would take over from there, firing from all cylinders. Steve Mason stood up to the test, making some acrobatic saves.

The second period didn’t have much action from either team. The Flyers had one power play, courtesy of a Phil Kessel cross-check. Lecavalier once against had the team’s best chance, ringing a shot off the crossbar.

Peter Holland had the Leafs best chance while shorthanded. He found himself in alone in the slot and fired a shot that Mason kicked away with his pad. The Leafs would out-shoot the Flyers 8-5 in the period and hold a 20-13 shot edge, but the Flyers would still have the 1-0 lead after two periods.

The Leafs held most of the scoring chances in the third period as well. The Flyers were out-shot 10-5. Mason had to make a few more big saves to keep the Flyers ahead. His biggest and best save of the night came in the games last five minutes.

Defenseman Morgan Rielly skated out from behind the Flyers net and had a wide open look. Mason lunged forward, catching the puck with his shoulder and sending it out of play.
“That top of the net was pretty much all he had,” Mason said on the Flyers site. “He didn’t do a tight wrap so he coasted out. I was trying to make myself as big as possible and I was able to get a shoulder on it.”

A late tripping penalty by Jakub Voracek gave the Leafs a chance to tie it up. The Leafs were unable to get the equalizer, even after emptying the net for an extra attacker. The Flyers were able to come away with the 1-0 victory, even with the Leafs outshooting them 30-18.

“Sometimes it won’t be pretty, but two points are what counts,” Voracek said on the Flyers site.

The Leafs were shut out for the sixth time this season and fourth time in their last nine games. The Flyers, however, collected their fourth straight win and climbed to nine points back of the wild card. It was also the first time the Flyers had a 1-0 victory since Nov. 2, 2013

Michael Del Zotto increased his point streak to six games, the longest in his career. He has three goals and four assists during the span. Wayne Simmonds collected an assist on the goal, increasing his point streak to three games. Steve Mason reached a milestone with the 25th shutout of his career.

The Flyers will have some time off to rest as they don’t return to action until February 5th. They will welcome in one of the league’s hottest teams, the New York Islanders. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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Ariel Melendez

Ariel Melendez is a junior, communication major at Cabrini College. Ariel is also the Sports Director for his school's radio station. Sports are a big passion of his and he loves watching and talking about every game that he sees.

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