NHL: Goalie helps Flyers stay in playoff hunt

2013-04-17T00:00:00Z NHL: Goalie helps Flyers stay in playoff huntThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHILADELPHIA - Steve Mason gave the Flyers a taste of a fabulous performance in net in crunch time.

He would love to help keep it going in the playoffs.

Mason stopped 38 shots in his first home start for Philadelphia and gave the Flyers' faint playoff hopes a boost in a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Brayden Schenn, Erik Gustafsson and Kimmo Timonen scored to lead the Flyers to their second win in two nights.

Mason shook off leg cramps late in the third period to outduel New York's Henrik Lundqvist in a pivotal matchup.

"As a younger goalie in the league, he's someone you look up to and want to compete against," Mason said. "I was able to get the best of him and I look forward to being able to do that more often."

Mason won the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year in the 2008-09 season, but spent this year as a backup in Columbus. Traded to Philly, he is out to prove he is more than a No. 2 goalie. Getting the spot start for Ilya Bryzgalov, Mason proved he might be worth another look down the stretch.

"The last three years in Columbus have been a drain from a mental standpoint," he said. "There have been so many negatives there, so to come here and get a fresh start with a new organization and new teammates, it's just a breath of fresh air."

Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored for the Rangers, who have a tenuous hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers are tied with Winnipeg with 46, but New York has six games remaining, compared to five for Winnipeg.

The Flyers are 11th in the East, five points behind with five games left.

• Sharks 3, Kings 2, SO: In San Jose, Calif., Antti Niemi stopped Jeff Carter on a 2-on-1 in overtime and then was perfect in the shootout to help the San Jose Sharks move into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with a victory over Los Angeles.

Raffi Torres scored the only goal of the shootout and Brent Burns scored one goal and assisted on another by T.J. Galiardi on a productive second-period shift for the Sharks. Niemi made 41 saves, including the key pad stop on Carter in overtime.

• Islanders 5, Panthers 2: In Uniondale, N.Y., Michael Grabner scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves as the New York Islanders moved closer to a playoff berth with a victory over Florida.

The Islanders earned their ninth win in 12 games while playing their final regular-season home game. The Islanders, 10-11-3 at home after starting 2-8-1, will begin a season-ending, five-game trip on Thursday in Toronto.

With a 14-5-3 mark since March 1, the Islanders hold seventh place in the East.

• Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 1: In Washington, Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 28th goal, and Washington enjoyed a rare feeling of dominance outside its division, winning its eighth straight by topping Toronto.

Jack Hillen, Martin Erat, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson also scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Southeast Division-leading Capitals.

The Capitals have moved into playoff position by feasting on the weak Southeast, going 14-3 within the division, but they entered just 9-14-2 against the rest of the Eastern Conference.

• Jets 4, Lightning 3, SO: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Andrew Ladd scored twice in regulation and added the decisive goal in a shootout as Winnipeg stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt with a win over Tampa Bay.

Ladd also earned an assist, and defenseman Zach Bogosian had a pair of assists. Blake Wheeler scored once and added two assists for Winnipeg (22-19-2), which is on a season-high, four-game winning streak.

• Blues 2, Canucks 1, SO: In St. Louis, Jay Bouwmeester tied it midway through the third period, and Andy McDonald and Alex Steen scored in the shootout to lead St. Louis over Vancouver.

Brian Elliott made 21 saves through overtime and stopped Derek Roy and Alexandre Burrows in the shootout, solidifying the Blues' chances in a tight West race. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock earned his 600th career NHL win against the franchise he beat for his first victory when Dallas won at Vancouver on Jan. 22, 1996.

• Senators 3, Hurricanes 2: In Ottawa, Craig Anderson made 32 saves to help Ottawa beat Carolina for its third straight win.

Mika Zibanejad, Cory Conacher and Chris Neil all scored as Ottawa remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Islanders.

• Wild 5, Oilers 3: In Edmonton, Alberta, Kyle Brodziak scored a pair of goals, and Minnesota earned another late-season win by topping the Oilers.

Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild (24-16-3), who remain in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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