Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: Flyers-Bruins Wrapup, Mason Injury Update, All-Star Game

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UPDATES 6:35 p.m.

As expected, Flyers forwards Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux have been named to the NHL All-Star Game. This will be Voracek’s first All-Star selection and the third time for Giroux.

Per CSN Philly and HockeyBuzz writer Tim Panaccio, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason underwent an MRI after leaving Saturday’s game early in the first period with a right knee injury.

No damage was found and, according to Panaccio, Mason is expected to miss a week.

With the Lehigh Valley Phantoms currently in Newfoundland for a pair of weekend games against St. John’s and no Flyers practice tomorrow, it seems like the Flyers will not officially recall Rob Zepp (tonight’s Phantoms starter) until Monday.

************ FLYERS-BRUINS WRAPUP: BOSTON GRINDS OUT 3-1 WIN OVER PHILLY

The Philadelphia Flyers were unable to win a tight-checking game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, falling 3-1.

Philadelphia was guilty of a couple of breakdowns with and without the puck that ended up in their net, including a back-breaking shorthanded goal for Boston in the third period. Power plays in general were not strong for Philly.

Overall, Boston won a few more of the board battles and didn’t have breakdowns that led to counterattacks or open chances in front for Philly. Despite the positive shot differential for Philly, Boston had the better of play by a small but noticeable margin until the score was 3-0 in their favor.

The Flyers blocked a lot of shot attempts — mostly in the second period — and Boston generated just eight shots after the first period. Nevertheless, the Bruins deserved to win the game, and did.

Highly touted Bruins rookie forward David Pastrnak, the youngest player currently in the NHL, scored his first and second NHL goals. Chris Kelly added a shorthanded tally midway through the third period to build a 3-0 lead before Philly finally scored on its sixth power play of the game to get on the board.

Claude Giroux notched the lone goal for Philadelphia, assisted by Jakub Voracek and Mark Streit. Overall, scoring chance were few and far between for the Flyers, especially second-chance opportunities. Tuukka Rask topped 24 of 25 shots.

Even worse than losing the game to fall even further behind in the NHL playoff race, the Flyers lost their starting goaltender.

In each of the two previous games, Steve Mason “tweaked” something in his lower body (believed to be his right knee) but the discomfort subsided quickly and he was able to finish the game while playing very well. Early in the first period against the Bruins, he made a kick save and was unable to get back up again.

Mason stopped all five shots he saw before giving way to Ray Emery. The Flyers’ backup netminder stopped 10 of 13 shots in relief.

1ST PERIOD

Seven seconds after the opening faceoff, there ‘was a fight. Nick Schultz delivered a clean bodycheck on Daniel Paille and Boston’s Adam McQuaid made a beeline for Schultz. The Flyers’ defenseman got thumped in the fight but the Flyers got a power play on an instigation minor.

The Flyers’ power play was short-lived. At the 1:27 mark, Vincent Lecavalier received a hooking penalty. Boston did not score on its own abbreviated power play.

At the 7:07 mark, Mason went down to make his fifth save of the game and couldn’t get back up as he tried to dig in and rise after making routine kick save on Craig Cunningham. The goaltender rolled around, favoring his right knee or leg. Eventually, Mason got up on his own power and skated off the ice and up the tunnel. Emery came in to replace him.

Matt Read had an open look from the slot at 9:37.but Rask was squared to him and made the save.

Boston went to its second power play at 10:21. Voracek was whistled off for an interference penalty on an offensive zone faceoff. Halfway into the power play, the Bruins cashed in for the game’s first goal.

Pastrnak got open directly in front of the net to claim a rebound and deposit it on the backhand past Emery at the 11:23 mark. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara got the assists on the rookie’s first NHL goal to make it 1-0 for the Bruins. Several Flyers penalty killers — Braydon Coburn, Sean Couturier and Schultz — made small mistakes on the sequence that added up to a goal for Boston.

The Flyers got their second power play at 15:10. Gregory Campbell went off for slashing. Read had a pair of one-timer chances from the left circle, flubbing the first and getting stopped by Rask on the second.

With 1:45 remaining in the period, Read took a nifty pass from Scott Laughton and got denied in close to Rask. It was the Flyers’ eight shot of the period and the third for Read.

Andrew MacDonald received a holding penalty in the defensive zone at the 19:00 mark. The Flyers got through the first half of the Boston power play without any shots or scoring chances.

Shots in the first period were 10-8 for Boston, The Bruins also blocked seven shot attempts while Philly blocked three. The Bruins and Flyers each missed the net on five shots. Faceoffs were 13-12 for the Flyers.

2ND PERIOD

The Flyers got through the remainder of the MacDonald penalty unscathed. Boston got the first three shots of the period through the opening five minutes, although the Giroux line generated some forechecking pressure as time ticked down past 15 minutes left in the period.

A little past the six-minute mark, Sean Couturier got the Flyers first shot of the period, rolling a backhander on net from the near the right side boards. Rask paddled it away.

Michael Del Zotto blocked a shot around seven minutes into the period, hobbled around and could not get off the ice for about 20 seconds. He finally limped off the ice and took a seat on the bench. He did not go up the tunnel, and returned for his next shift.

At 8:33, Mark Streit received a hooking penalty and the Bruins went to their fourth power play of the game.With 15 seconds left in the power play, Boston was flagged for too many men on the ice.

Voracek generated one shot attempt from the right side on the power play but that was about it for the Flyers. Most of the play was along the boards and Boston won the battles.

Shots were 8-4 Flyers in the second period (16-14 Flyers through two periods). The Flyers blocked 9 Bruins shot attempts to two Boston blocks (13-7 Flyers through two periods). The Flyers missed the net five times to three times for Boston (10 Flyers misses to eight Bruins’ misses through two periods. Faceoffs were 8-7 Boston for the period (20-20 tie for the game).

3RD PERIOD

The first few minutes of the third period were tight-checking. However, at the 4:57 mark, Boston struck on a bad line change by Philly to make it a 2-0 game.

Coburn turned the puck over trying to make a neutral zone pass and Boston countered. With Coburn drifting over to partner Schultz’s side and no back pressure, David Krejci fed Pastrnak cross-ice. The rookie had a slam dunk for his second goal of the game. McQuaid got the secondary assist.

With 11:04 remaining in the game, Wayne Simmonds won a board battle behind the net and drew a holding penalty on McQuaid. The Flyers moved to their fourth power play of the game, Boston would get the only goal.

Voracek got on the wrong side of the puck as it got chipped past him by Chara on the Bruins’ defensive half boards and Boston broke out on a 2-on-1 counterattack. Chris Kelly received a cross-ice pass from Loui Eriksson and buried it high to the short side for a shorthanded goal. It was Kelly’s fifth overall goal of the season.

The Flyers went back to the power play at 11:57. Chara went off for tripping Lecavalier near the net. The Flyers did not score. Philly got their sixth power play at 14:04 after a delay of game penalty on McQuaid for flipping the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. This time, the Flyers capitalized quickly to get on the board and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Philadelphia won the left circle faceoff and started rotating the puck. Giroux drilled a left circle slap shot through a screen by Wayne Simmonds for his 14th goal of the season. Streit and Voracek received the assists at 14:13.

Brad Marchand sped around Voracek, who was playing back as a defender, and narrowly missed the net as he cut in on Emery at about the 17:30 mark.

With about 2:10 left in the game, the Flyers pulled Emery. A deflection attempt by Brayden Schenn went just wide of the net as Voracek put it at the net with about 1:30 left. Shortly thereafter, Lecavalier wasn’t able to get a stck on a Schenn rebound of a left side shot.

Boston got the puck out in the waning seconds. The Bruins put the puck into the empty net about 0.5 seconds after time expired.

Shots were 9-4 Flyers in the third period but two pucks ended up in their net (25-18 Flyers’ shot advantage for the game). The Bruins blocked seven Flyers shot attempts in the third period to zero blocks for Philly (14-13 Bruins for the game). The Flyers missed the net eight times to once for Boston (18 Flyers misses to nine Bruins’ misses for the game). Faceoffs were 9-8 Flyers for the period (29-28 Flyers for the game).

POSTGAME NOTES AND QUOTES

* The Flyers have a complete off-day on Sunday. On Monday, the team will host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center. The morning skate will be at 10:30 a,m,

* Claude Giroux led the Flyers in faceoffs, going 16-for-29 (55 percent). He had three shots on goal. Matt Read led Philly with four shots — three in the first period.

* Boston’s Milan Lucic was credited with a game-high six hits and Boston had 39 credited hits to 34 for the Flyers. Lucic also won seven of 11 faceoffs (64 percent). Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds were each credited with four hits to lead the Flyers.

* Prior to the game, Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen met with the media. Timonen will be examined by doctors within the next week to 10 days to determine if the blood clots in his lungs and right calf have entirely dissipated. If so, there will be a meeting to discuss whether there are any strategies by which Timonen could safely play hockey again.

Further complicating Timonen’s situation is the fact that he has a blood disorder that runs in his family and will need to be on medication of some form the rest of his life. Currently, Timonen takes Xarelto (the generic name is rivaroxaban).

Timonen said that it remains his goal to “retire with my skates on, not my shoes,” but said he will not do anything to risk his health. Currently, Timonen is cleared to do anything except skate and has been working out regularly.

* Timonen also spoke about winning the Philadelphia Sportswriter Association’s Good Guy Award: “I’m honored. It’s great. It shows that you’ve been around a long time working with the media and sometimes I’m sure it’s not easy. What I learned when I was younger was to treat you guys as professionals like we are so you are too. It’s not easy always, it’s a hard game. I just try to be honest. I’m not joking or fooling around it’s whatever happens and then see you later.”

* Mark Streit on the Boston shorthanded goal and the Flyers’ struggles on the power play apart from the late goal: “When you get scored on the power play it’s tough to react, you know it’s unfortunate it happened. I think there was other parts of the game that were definitely better than the power play.”

* Streit on the game coming down to Philly making a couple mistakes and Boston capitalizing:”Obviously the power play wasn’t good today but other than that I think the five on five we pretty much outplayed them. You know it’s one of those type of games that unfortunately we came up short. I think there is a lot of positive we can take out of the game. It’s a quick turnaround so I think we have to get some rest for Monday [against Tampa Bay]. It is another big game for us and we face a really good team on Monday.”

* Streit on the lack of opportunities for the Flyers’ defensemen to jump up on the play against Boston’s tight checking: “I thought the same thing after the game. They cover up pretty well; they are backtracking and back checking. We tried to jump in a play a few times but they are a good defensive team and you know they don’t give up a whole lot. Still we carried some chances offensively and even at the end we had some good looks and scoring chances but it wasn’t enough tonight.”

* Claude Giroux on playing against Tuukka Rask today: “I think he’s one of the best in the league, but we need to find a way to do a better job of getting in front of him. I think he saw a lot of pucks tonight. Five on five, I think we played pretty good.”

* Wayne Simmonds on Steve Mason’s injury: “It sucks but I think we played a good game after that, obviously we kept going. Emery came in there and he did a good job for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t put up a few more against Rask but that’s how it is sometimes.”

* Craig Berube on Mason’s injury: “I don’t talk about it.Nothing to talk about. I don’t know what’s going on yet.”

* Berube on the style of play in the game: “It was tight game. I thought we competed hard. The power plays was one for six, we probably could’ve generated more on the power play. They did a good job killing. Even earlier on in the game we didn’t really create too much on the power play. Could’ve made the difference.”

* Berube on the Flyers’ overall effort:” We played hard. I thought the guys stayed with it all game, they competed hard all game, played a great defensive hockey game. We played against a real good defensive team that competes hard. They don’t give you a whole lot. It was a tight game but the guys I thought stayed with it right to the end.”

* Berube on starting the second half with a regulation loss and losing further ground to eighth-seeded Boston in the wildcard chase: “We weren’t going to go 41 and 0 were we? I guess you never know. It’s disappointing for sure, but we’re going to stay positive. We have to. A lot of good things today. If we play like that we’ll win a lot of game.”

* Jakub Voracek on having 50 points for the season: “I don’t know what you want me to tell you, I can’t talk about it all of the time. It’s a good story for you [media] guys but I can’t talk about it every day. Sorry.”

* Voracek on the possibility (more accurately, the certainty) of being named to his first NHL All-Star Game: “It would mean a lot, obviously it would be a dream come true. It would be bitter sweet today because obviously I would feel a little bit better because we lost those two points today.”

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