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Deja vu gives Flyers the Blues

Just like last year, the Flyers lose in a shootout in St. Louis.

Blues' Robert Bortuzzo is checked by Flyers' Chris VandeVelde.
Blues' Robert Bortuzzo is checked by Flyers' Chris VandeVelde.Read moreAssociated Press

ST. LOUIS - Different goalie. Same building. Same result.

Almost an exact calendar year later, the Flyers and Blues skated through regulation and overtime without a goal, both times St. Louis' shootout prowess being the deciding factor.

Olympic star T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored to lift the Blues to a 1-0 victory Thursday night via the skills competition, leaving Steve Mason with both a shutout and a loss.

Last year, on April 1, Ray Emery was dealt the same fate at Scottrade Center. The two teams have now played 130 consecutive minutes of hockey without a goal in the Arch City.

"There's got to be a winner. We don't want to stay here all night," Flyers defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo said. "I think tonight we deserved a better fate, the focus was on being sharp. We created some of our own chances and we limited a lot of theirs. We had the energy, we had the emotion."

Defenseman Mark Streit said the Flyers' effort was "100 percent better."

Where exactly would the Flyers be without Mason? Probably with a lot more pingpong balls in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, hanging only behind Buffalo and Edmonton. Mason suffered a shutout loss for the second time this season, also dropping a decision on Long Island, N.Y., in November after a scoreless regulation and overtime.

Mason has the NHL's No. 2 save percentage at even-strength this season since Nov. 1, second only to Hart Trophy candidate Carey Price.

The Flyers are now 3-8 in shootouts this season. Even with the eight points they've left behind, they still would be two points shy of Boston, which pulled to 10 points clear of the Flyers with its win against Tampa Bay.

Mason has only one win on the road this season - and the Flyers continued their polarizing string of strong games against top competition. St. Louis pulled into the Central Division lead with the win.

"A loss is still a loss," Claude Giroux said. "We got one point, but it's not two."

Bardreau signed

The Flyers inked free-agent forward Cole Bardreau to a 2-year, entry-level contract Thursday, only days after he wrapped up his senior season at Cornell University.

Bardreau, 21, will report to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms next weekend and finish out the season on an amateur tryout. He has one final exam left to take on Tuesday.

When Shayne Gostisbehere helped the United States capture gold at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Russia, Bardreau was the only undrafted player on Team USA.

"I saw him last year; he pops right out at you with his competitiveness," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "He's a heart-and-soul type of guy. He plays hard. He's an agitator. He skates well, and you notice him every game because he's physically involved."

Bardreau netted 22 points in 30 games this season. He finished a game for Cornell on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, after fracturing the C7 vertebra in his back - and didn't realize the severity of the injury until 2 days later when team medical personnel suggested he see a doctor. He was back playing 3 months later.

Bardreau attended prospect camps with Detroit and Buffalo last summer - and both teams expressed interest this week. He decided on the Flyers after a visit to Tuesday's game against Dallas and a trip to the Phantoms' gleaming PPL Center in Allentown.

Hextall said the Flyers have interest in a few more free agents at both the NCAA and European pro levels.

"We don't carpet-bomb. There's a lot of teams that look at 50 guys. We don't," Hextall said. "We try to narrow it down and hone in a little bit more on the guys that we want."