Dec 31, 2013, 5:03 PM EDT
The Philadelphia Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts. I repeat, the Philadelphia Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts. This is not a drill.
You can stop rubbing your eyes and pinching yourselves, because it’s as true as can be.
The Flyers rallied late to tie thanks to a Brayden Schenn goal with less than a minute left and the goaltender pulled and then snuck past the Vancouver Canucks for a 4-3, shootout win last night – earlier this morning, technically – at Rogers Arena.
It’s the first time the Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts since March of 2006 when they topped the Montreal Canadiens and eventual Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes.
The Flyers took a first-period lead when Mark Streit found a Michael Raffl rebound and put it past Canucks’ netminder Eddie Lack. Lack started in place of Roberto Luongo, who missed the game with what he called the #EmeryFlu.
The Flyers gave up two second-period tallies, including one by former Flyers’ tough guy Tom Sestito to fall behind, 2-1. That was before Claude Giroux took a seam pass from Raffl and, with two Canucks’ defenders all over him, somehow muscled the puck through Lack to tie the game with a spectacular goal.
It was an Olympic effort from Giroux. Were you watching, Mr. Yzerman?
The game stayed tied in the third until Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin scored an odd goal to give his team the lead. Sedin threw a long wrist shot on net that Steve Mason batted away. But the puck then hit off Luke Schenn and bounced over Mason and into the net.
Never fear because little brother Brayden came to the rescue and tied the contest with 47 seconds left when he found a loose puck off a faceoff and slid it past Lack. It was Schenn’s first goal in 16 games. Talk about a timely way to end a slump.
Vinny Lecavalier netted the shootout winner as Mason stoned all three Vancouver attempts.
Speaking of Mason, wow, what a performance.
After a bit of a shaky start in Edmonton in the Orange and Black’s previous game, Mason was spectacular against the Canucks as he stopped 41 shots.
They weren’t easy saves either. There were some acrobatic saves that most goalies would have hid no shot at. His first-period save on Vancouver’s Chris Higgins may have been his best save all season. The third-period, pad save he made on David Booth on a two-on-one was phenomenal.
Yes, the Flyers scored three goals in regulation and came back from a deficit to win, but Mason was the real story in the game. He kept the Flyers in the game as they were outshot 44-27 and allowed the Canucks to run circles around them when the Canucks had the puck in the offensive zone.
While most of you will be out drinking – responsibly, of course – and celebrating the new year, the Flyers will be in Calgary to take on the Flames at 9 p.m.
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