Flyers goalie Steve Mason played another strong game Tuesday night, but he was upstaged by a 20-year-old netminder who made his NHL debut.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, recalled from AHL Syracuse earlier in the day, made 23 saves as Tampa Bay defeated the Flyers, 3-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.
As a result, the Flyers (11-14-5) had their five-game points streak snapped (see story) and slipped into 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference.
"He was just named American League player of the week, and we've been going through a little bit of a tough stretch here," said Tampa coach Jon Cooper, whose team had lost four of its previous six games. "We played him because he's a talented kid, and we thought he might be able to give us a spark and clearly he did."
Vasilevskiy, selected by Tampa in the first round (19th overall) in the 2012 draft, played in Russian's KHL for parts of two seasons; he was starring for Syracuse in the AHL this year before getting promoted after Ben Bishop suffered an injury Monday.
"He's come to North America, and it's a different game over here," Cooper said. "I think when you play in Europe and play on the bigger ice, there's not as much traffic; you don't have to fight to see pucks as much, a lot more of a perimeter skill game. Here it's a battle. In a smaller rink there's bodies everywhere, you're fighting to look for pucks all the time. He's been learning that in the American League, and now he's prepared a little more. Then to come up here and play in Philadelphia; it's not the easiest place to play.
"This for sure will always be a night he will remember."
"It's awesome. It was my childhood dream," said the native of Russia. "And today I am playing in the best league in the world. I'm very excited. It's the best feeling in my life."
The Flyers didn't put much sustained pressure on Vasilevskiy. Cooper credited his defense.
"The guys were laying out and blocking shots. I thought for the most part we kept it to the outside," Cooper said.
Wayne Simmonds had a power-play goal late in the first period, but that was the extent of the Flyers' offense.
"I thought we could have done a better job on second and third opportunities, getting the puck toward the net, "Simmonds said. "But he played well."
Breakaways. Tampa blocked 16 shots _ nine more than the Flyers….The Flyers have PP goals in eight straight games, the NHL's longest current streak….Claude Giroux extended his point streak to six games, while Sean Couturier had his six-game point streak snapped….Michael Raffl had four hits and four shots….The Flyers end their four-game homestand _ they are 2-1 so far _ on Thursday against Florida; the teams are 1-1 against each other this year…..After the homestand ends, the Flyers will go on an eight-game road trip.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.