Flyers beat Panthers in Berube's first game

Brayden Schenn (right) celebrates his first-period goal with Vinny Lecavalier behind Florida goalie Tim Thomas. The veteran netminder was removed from the game just moments later after giving up a second goal, to Braydon Coburn.
Brayden Schenn (right) celebrates his first-period goal with Vinny Lecavalier behind Florida goalie Tim Thomas. The veteran netminder was removed from the game just moments later after giving up a second goal, to Braydon Coburn. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 10, 2013

A little luck and a lot of excellent work by goalie Steve Mason.

That combination enabled the Flyers to make Craig Berube's head coaching debut a success, a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Mason, in his best performance of the young season, made 33 saves as the Flyers (1-3) avoided their first 0-4 start in franchise history.

"He made some key stops," winger Brayden Schenn said, "or it could have been a different hockey game."

First-period goals by Schenn and Braydon Coburn gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead until Brad Boyes scored on a rebound with 6.7 seconds left in the second period.

Schenn scored after Jake Voracek's shot bounced crazily off the back boards, and he knocked in the rebound after it caromed away from goalie Tim Thomas after 4 minutes, 49 seconds.

A little less than three minutes later, Coburn's bizarre goal - a shot from the right point - put the Flyers ahead, 2-0. Sean Couturier's shot went wide as Thomas fell down, and the goalie, while trying to get back on his feet, got his skates tangled with teammate Mike Weaver as Coburn fired the rebound into the empty net.

"Throw stuff at the net and good things can happen," Coburn said.

Thomas left the game with what the Panthers said was a slight groin pull, and his replacement, Jacob Markstrom, was flawless in relief.

Mason was brilliant in the first two periods, stopping 24 of 25 shots, including Aleksander Barkov's wide-open blast from the slot in the opening period. Late in the second period, he turned aside Shawn Matthias on a shorthanded breakaway.

But in the closing seconds of the second period, Mason was defenseless as teammate Luke Schenn blocked Brian Campbell's shot and the rebound went to Boyes, who easily knocked in the goal to cut the Flyers' lead to 2-1.

Before the game, winger Scott Hartnell said the Flyers would be "more of a skating team" under Berube. "If you don't work hard and don't win battles, you're not going to win games, and I think that was the problem the first few games. We were getting outhustled and outworked, and when you wear the Flyers crest, you have to be hard-nosed, skating fast, hitting. . . . That's something we weren't getting done."

Discipline has also been a problem, and Tuesday was no exception. Jay Rosehill's double-minor for roughing was a prime example. Rosehill was already assessed a penalty and was heading to the box when he went back for more with 17:12 left in the game.

The Flyers masterfully killed off the four minutes and actually outshot the Panthers during the penalty.

"I don't think they had a quality shot on net during that entire time," Mason said. "The penalty killers did a great job."

Berube said the goalie competition between Mason and Ray Emery will "play itself out." Mason has started the last two games and has been strong in both outings.

"Myself and Ray would like to start every game of the year if it was possible, but it's not," Mason said. "You just take it day by day. . . . We're not going to dwell on who's starting and who's not."

Midway through the third period, the Flyers did little with a five-minute power play, which they received because of Erik Gudbranson's boarding penalty.

"We have to support each other more. Some guys were on a different page," Hartnell said before the game. "I think if you play good defense, you're going to get good chances on the rush on offense."

Hartnell called the coaching change - Peter Laviolette was fired Monday - a "wake-up call. This morning I woke up and it kind of really sunk in that I'm going to have a half-hour of meetings, a new system, new coach, new everything.

"It's sad, obviously," he said of the situation, "but it's exciting, too, going forward."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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