Flyers Notes: Steve Mason the 'backbone' in win over Capitals

Flyers Notes: Steve Mason the 'backbone' in win over Capitals

Steve Mason helped get the Flyers a point earlier this week with a shootout loss to Nashville.
Mason made sure the team picked up both points in the Flyers’ 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night (see game recap).
“I thought he was good all game, both goaltenders were good,” coach Dave Hakstol said of Mason and Braden Holtby. “They both had some key saves throughout the 65 minutes. Mase for us was a great backstopper and good backbone for us through the whole 65 minutes.”
It’s hard to pick out all the saves, but his timely one near the end of overtime on Matt Niskanen allowed the game to advance into the shootout.
Mason was out of the net and sprawled like a scorpion on the ice, just getting his pad on the shot from along the goal line.
“He came across the net and it was like a scorpion kick there,” Mason said. “A desperation thing to take as much of the upper portion of the net to take away. I had covered part of the ice with my pants.”
Mason finished with 36 saves, as did his counterpart Holtby. It was the Flyers’ fourth shootout win this season compared to three losses.
This was a three-point swing for the Flyers against a division opponent with four games in hand on them and chasing from behind.
“A hard-fought game, a battle,” Mason said. “It’s good to get back in the winning column. You go on a 10-game win streak, you can’t let it slide. Two losses in a row, one we got a point out of it, but you can’t let it slide and counteract everything you’ve done during the winning streak.”
The Flyers held Alex Ovechkin without a shot on goal until three seconds left in regulation. They rotated their three pairs of defensemen, but Ivan Provorov and Radko Gudas had the most shifts against him.
“Those pairs each got some time,” Hakstol said. “You have to pick your poison. There are different offensive weapons. It’s not a one-man show, that’s the thing. It’s pretty tough if you want to have just one singular matchup.
“That’s not what we were looking for. We had an idea of some matchups we wanted and some of the rhythm we wanted. Both of those guys on that side did a good job. Again, it’s everyone that is on the ice that has to do the work and fortunately enough for us, tonight we were able to get the job done.”
Loose pucks
The Flyers took just two minor penalties and didn’t allow Washington a power play until the final 1:48 of regulation. They killed it off in overtime. ... The Flyers set a new regular-season Wells Fargo Center attendance record with a crowd of 20,011. The old record was 19,997 two different times in March 2013.

Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

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Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues' first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak

Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride big 1st period to win
TORONTO -- Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves in his season debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Starting in place of Frederik Andersen, McElhinney stopped 14 shots in the third period to hold off the Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored to help Toronto improve to an NHL-best 6-1-0. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 2-0 victory at Washington on Tuesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings, and Nick Jensen had three assists.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on four shots before getting yanked in favor of Petr Mrazek late in the first period (see full recap).

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

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How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

For the first time in his nine-year career, Michal Neuvirth knows when he gets home at night after a game, there will be someone waiting for him with a smile.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter to Neuvirth, or especially to his one-month-old daughter, Emily Gudasová Carolina.

“When you come home, there’s a baby waiting and it's such an amazing feeling that someone is waiting for you at home,” Neuvirth said after Tuesday's 5-1 win over Florida. “Last year, I was mostly here by myself, so I definitely like it better having a family with me now.”

Family now consists of his newborn daughter, his fiancee Karolína Gudasová and uncle Radko Gudas, Gudasová’s older brother and Neuvirth’s Flyers teammate.

To those of us on the outside, the responsibility of fatherhood seemingly has altered Neuvirth’s disposition. He smiles more, cracks a few jokes and elaborates just a little more with his answers to the media. Perhaps, he can tolerate us because there’s a deeper purpose and a sense of providing that comes with fatherhood.  

“It’s an amazing feeling being a dad,” Neuvirth said. “For me, I just have another motivation to play for my family now.”

Of course, it also helps I’ve yet to see Neuvirth yawn or show up to practice with bags under his eyes. He has escaped any late-night drama with an eight-day road trip to start the season, and for now, he apparently has a rare lifetime pass for any early morning feedings.  

“I have an amazing fiancee. She takes care of her (Emily) as much as she needs to,” Neuvirth said. “I usually put her to bed at 10-10:30. During the night, Karolina goes and feeds her in the living room, and I’m a deep sleeper, so she doesn’t wake me up.”

As Gudasová has kept an eye on the cradle, Neuvirth has secured the crease. He’s allowed three goals in his two starts this season with a .956 save percentage, which has initiated the debate for more playing time.

Interestingly, adapting to a new addition is something Neuvirth has also discussed with teammate and fellow netminder, Brian Elliott, who went through a similar set of circumstances with his son, Owen, last season in Calgary. Elliott called that first month with the Flames “a huge adjustment” and his October numbers reflected that.

Six games into the season, Neuvirth apparently has it all figured out. 

Of course, a good night’s sleep has a way of bringing clarity to the situation.