(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
The game almost got away from the Flyers at several points. And if it had, they would have only had themselves to blame.
But instead, thanks in huge part to their goaltender, the Flyers have two points in the standings after a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins that took nine rounds in the shootout to decide.
Here are 10 Postgame Points from Flyers-Bruins.
- It has to start with the whole reason the Flyers even won the game. Steve Mason was magnificent in this game. The Bruins peppered Mason with 19 shots in the first period, many of them testing the Flyers netminder. 11 more came his way in the second. He stopped all of them. Some spotty defense in the third -- more on that later -- led to the two goals Boston needed to tie it up, but Mason had another 11 shots fired his way in the third. Then the Bruins outshot the Flyers, 6-1, in the overtime. Mason's last save: right-handed robbery on David Krejci. Then came the dreaded shootout, and Mason stopped eight more attempts from the Bruins, making the one final save needed on David Backes with the glove to seal the win. If you're keeping score at home, that's 45 saves in regulation and overtime plus three more in the shootout, a total of 48 on the night.
- The Flyers first period wasn't great, but it was reminiscent of how the Rangers grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period on Friday. The Flyers were a very opportunistic team in the first. Boston was careless with the puck, despite the heavy shot advantage, and that opened the door for Michael Del Zotto's goal to open the scoring. Claude Giroux followed with a power-play goal shortly after with Austin Czarnik in the box for a slashing penalty. In less than two minutes, the Flyers had the game's first two goals.
- It was good for Claude Giroux to get back on the scoreboard with a goal. The captain had gone nine straight games without a goal and had just four points in that time.
- The Flyers were lucky to get the game to overtime and have a chance to win the game at all. Their second and third periods were horrible. With the 2-0 lead, the Flyers took their foot off the gas and were badly outplayed by a hungry Bruins team. It took until the third for Boston to make them pay, but they did in short order, two goals in 1:18.
- The Flyers have particularly been a terrible third-period team. They lead the NHL with 30 goals allowed in the third period, but here's something to note. Entering Tuesday's game, the Flyers allowed 22 goals in the third period of games they went on to lose. In Tampa last week, it was three goals. A couple weeks earlier in Toronto, it was four goals in the third period. They led in both games.
- The tying goal was scored by Brad Marchand, who just continues to kill the Flyers. Marchand is the player you love to hate, but chances are the reason you hate him is not because he's a pest -- which he is also good at doing -- but because he's such a talented offensive player. Marchand also had the only goal for the Bruins in the shootout.
- If there was one players, besides Mason, who was really doing everything in his power to get the Flyers the win, it was Jake Voracek. He assisted on Giroux's power-play goal in the first, got a penalty shot chance in the third, and scored the first goal of the shootout that looked to be the potential dagger before Marchand's equalizer in the fifth round. But more than that, Voracek is always moving his feet. He's playing with an energy that is unmatched on the Flyers by far and tough to compete against.
- It doesn't seem to matter what kind of seasons the Flyers and Bruins are having. When these two teams meet, it's always a close game and typically features a frantic finish. Now about Tuesday night's finish...
- In all of their meetings recently, I don't remember a Flyers-Bruins game going to a shootout. But having seen each team in shootout action before, it wasn't surprising how long it took to decide this one. Both teams have shown solid scoring depth and have multiple players who can put the puck in the net. But give them an unimpeded breakaway and they go silent. For some perspective there, Mason only had three saves in the shootout because Boston missed the net on five attempts, including the three prior to Backes attempt that Mason stopped. The Flyers used Roman Lyubimov and Matt Read on shootout attempts. Pretty much says it all.
- Speaking of shootout attempts, how about Shayne Gostisbehere's game-winning goal in the glorified skills competition? The defenseman got a rare shootout attempt and decided to throw the offspeed pitch. Tuukka Rask couldn't quite get all of it.
In short, the Flyers didn't deserve to really even get one point, let alone a second one. Take the points the goalie stole and run.
That said, it's a pretty big night for Mason, who has been part of a goaltending tandem that has faced criticism for some soft goals and poor performances. All of that was justifiable, but since having to fill in for Michal Neuvirth on Nov. 12, Mason has been much better. The record doesn't show it -- 4-3-1 in the eight games -- but Mason has a 2.32 goals against average since taking over as the No. 1 with Neuvirth out. But Tuesday was his standout performance.
A long November with 14 games is now in the books, and the Flyers went 7-5-2 in those games, but the road doesn't get any easier. A hot Ottawa Senators team awaits on the road and then a back-to-back with Chicago and Nashville. December starts with its share of challenges.