Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Mason carries Flyers in 5-2 win over Jets

As part of their 50th anniversary year, the Flyers held Tough Guy Night and honored some of their past players Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.

As part of their 50th anniversary year, the Flyers held Tough Guy Night and honored some of their past players Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Then they went out and, in boxing parlance, withstood a flurry of punches . . . uh, shots, and decisioned the Winnipeg Jets.

Flyers 5, Winnipeg 2.

The Jets had the better scoring chances, but goalie Steve Mason outplayed his counterpart as the Flyers defeated a Winnipeg team that was 4-0-1 in its last five games.

"You can just see in his play that he's more confident," center Sean Couturier said. "He's bigger in the net and making some big saves."

Couturier, Michael Raffl, Mark Streit, Wayne Simmonds, and Brandon Manning (empty-netter) scored for the Flyers, who were unable to hold third-period leads in two of their previous three games.

This time, they survived, and Mason - who allowed a weak goal late in Tuesday's shootout loss to Ottawa - was the major reason.

"It's one play. It happens; it happens to all of us, and it's how you respond, and he was incredible tonight," Streit said. "He's saved our team so many times in the past."

The Jets outshot the Flyers, 32-22.

"We needed to finish off a third period without kind of collapsing like we have done in previous games here," Mason said. "Points are too valuable to come by and they're too hard to get. Teams are so evenly matched. Winnipeg is a great team and that was a hard-working game from start to finish. They have some big, fast bodies and some talented offensive players, and for us to shut them down in the third period was huge."

With 17 minutes, 7 seconds left and the Flyers clinging to a 3-2 lead, Mason stopped Mark Scheifele's point-blank shot. A little over two minutes later, he did a split and made a glove save - his best stop of the night - on Nikolaj Ehlers' blast.

Simmonds scored on a rebound, his fifth goal in the last 11 games, to give the Flyers a 4-2 cushion with 14:14 to play.

"We played smarter," said Couturier, whose line, along with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's, did a nice job on Scheifele's high-scoring unit. "We limited turnovers, we took care of the puck, and we were on the right side of the puck defensively. That's how we have to close games."

With 7:02 left in the second, Streit, part of the NHL's highest-scoring defense, scored on a one-timer from the point that goalie Connor Hellebuyck misplayed, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

But the Jets used some slick passing to get within 3-2 with 2:41 to go in the second. Blake Wheeler finished off the tic-tac-toe passing play, tapping in a feed from Ehlers.

Earlier, Couturier and Raffl scored 34 seconds apart - on the Flyers' first two shots of the game - to give the hosts a 2-0 lead, one they took into the second period. It was their first two-goal lead to start any period in the last 13 games.

Couturier scored his fifth goal from out front, roofing the puck just inside the right post after taking a pass from Travis Konecny with 10:47 left in the first. (Konecny played just two shifts in the third period as coach Dave Hakstol used Dale Weise on the second line, trying to get more size after the Jets put 6-5, 225-pound Blake Wheeler on the opposing unit.)

On a two-on-one, Raffl scored his third goal, thanks to Matt Read's hustle. Read was closely guarded by rookie defenseman Josh Morrissey near the right boards as he dove for the puck and swept it out front for his all-alone teammate.

"Perfect play by him," Raffl said.

Dustin Byfuglien's first goal of the season cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the second period, which ended with the Flyers holding a precarious 3-2 lead.

On Tough Guy Night, Dave Schultz, who received the biggest ovation, Dave Brown, Ian Laperriere, Bob Kelly, and Rick Tocchet were among the former Flyers who were saluted.

Ironically, it was the cleanest game involving the Flyers and their opponent since 2013. Each team committed just one penalty Thursday.