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Full strength Flyers even with Rangers again

Mason's return gets Flyers back even with Rangers
Mason's return gets Flyers back even with Rangers
Photo by Bruce Bennett

The Philadelphia Flyers were shorthanded to start the Stanley Cup playoffs. Although the Flyers salvaged one win against the New York Rangers to start the playoffs, it was clear they couldn't hold on any longer without regular starting goalie Steve Mason. He proved that when he came back in Game 4 on April 25, saving Philadelphia's season as it evened its series with New York on a 2-1 victory.

Game 4 started like every other thus far, as the Rangers scored the first goal in short order. Mason hardly started out strong in his first playoff game of the year, since it took Dominic Moore just over four-and-a-half minutes to put New York on top. With Philadelphia already down by 2-1 in the series and having been overwhelmed at home in Game 3, it looked like doom and gloom for the home team.

But when Matt Read struck back over four minutes later, on a puck he got from a fortunate bounce off the boards, the Flyers and Mason settled down. They stayed even with the Rangers until the second period, when Jakub Voracek tipped in a Brayden Schenn shot to put them ahead. From then on, Mason was all the Flyers needed, as he finished up with 37 saves and the Rangers finished with no more goals.

Mason had never won in the Stanley Cup playoffs until now, but he chose the right time to break the streak. Despite the Flyers being close to the brink and Mason being absent for two weeks after a suspected concussion, the Rangers couldn't take advantage. Now they have to go back ahead in New York, after Philadelphia finally won its first game at Madison Square Garden in over two years last week.

Although several series in these Stanley Cup playoffs have had teams trade winning streaks, the Rangers and Flyers have gone back and forth with each game. By the current pattern, the Rangers will win Game 5, then lose Game 6 before clinching things in Game 7.

To move on, Philadelphia will need a winning streak and at least one more win in New York, which it will hope to secure in Game 5 on April 27 at noon est.

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