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Flyers' Mason deserved respect, not an early hook

CALGARY, Alberta _ The wheels are falling off on the Flyers' season, though some might argue they came off a while ago.

Frustrated, angry, and disappointed in their performance Thursday, they held a players-only meeting following their 4-1 loss in Calgary.

Defenseman Luke Schenn said the meeting was held to make sure the team stayed focused in their final nine games.

"Obviously we know the situation right now and where we're at," he said. "At the end of the day, it comes down to pride and obviously we didn't have much of that tonight."

The Flyers have lost eight straight on the road and, as in most of those defeats, a breakdown in a short span turned a winnable game into a loss.

Trailing 2-1, the Flyers should have had momentum from a goal scored by Claude Giroux with 8.8 seconds left in the second period.

Instead, the Flyers committed four penalties in the first 8:27 of the final period. Calgary converted two of those penalties _ assessed to Ryan White (cross-checking) and Nick Grossmann (tripping) _ into power-play goals to take a 4-1 lead.

Game over.

Flyers coach Craig Berube made a highly questionable decision by pulling Steve Mason after T.J. Brodie scored on a screened shot with 2:03 left in the second period, giving the Flames a 2-0 lead.

Several Flyers were surprised Berube yanked Mason, who worked hard after knee surgery to return to the lineup.

Berube was asked if he pulled his starting goalie to create some momentum.

"Part of it, but I didn't like the goals," he said.

Even the screened goal?

"There's going to be screens. You have to fight through it, find pucks," Berube said.

Mason deserved better, deserved more respect. He has been the Flyers' most consistent player this season and is among the league leaders in save percentage. It is not his fault he has just one road win. The Flyers have scored two goals or fewer in 17 of his 19 road starts.

They have scored a total of two goals while he has been in the nets in his last four road starts.

"He's kept us in probably 95 percent of the games this year," Schenn said.


Gaudreau stars. Calgary rookie  Johnny Gaudreau collected three points (see story) to lead the Flames to the win. He was a huge Flyers fan while growing up in South Jersey.

"It's pretty special to me," he said. "I know a ton of family and friends were watching at home. My sister just had her first kid and she was watching, too. It's just an exciting night."

 Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.