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The Philadelphia Flyers continue to roll in their pursuit of a playoff spot with a 3-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. The win gives Philadelphia their 39th win of the season and with that, the Flyers will now move back ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. With the Pittsburgh Penguins blowout win over the New York Islanders today, the Flyers are now also in position to catch the Isles as they are now just 2 points behind them in the playoff race.The Flyers received goals from Wayne Simmonds (27th, 28th) and Sean Couturier (11th) this afternoon as well. Philadelphia’s powerplay shined this afternoon as they were responsible for all 3 of the team’s goals in this one. It was all about puck pursuit and quick puck movement for the Flyers and Wayne Simmonds 3rd period goal was indicative of that. All five players on the ice got a touch on the sequence before Simmonds slammed his 2nd tally of the game home and while it’s not always imperative that every player on the ice touch the puck on a powerplay, it does suggest that the Flyers’ players knew what they wanted to do with the puck before they got it. No one can move quicker than the puck and so as long as the Flyers can whip the disc around on the man advantage the way they did today, they’ll always be a threat to score.
Winning goaltender Steve Mason kept up his solid play in goal this afternoon as he turned away 33 of 35 shots fired his way. Over the last run for Mason, it hasn’t just about the saves he makes but rather the timing of those saves. His second period, breakaway stop on Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman is the epitome of timely goaltending and had he not come up with a save there, the complexion of this game changes completely. All in all, Mason has been stellar and looks no worse for wear in terms of fatigue so expect the Flyers to keep riding him until they lock up a playoff spot.
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According to the broadcast, the Flyers are currently 13-3-2 in their last 18 games and that has much to do with the fact that the club is receiving contributions from everyone. One of those players have been traveled forward Sam Gagner over the last few weeks. Gagner didn’t get on the scoresheet today but has really worked on his overall game and was strong both with and without the puck this afternoon.
Depending on what he is looking for come Summer time, Gagner may play his way into the Flyers plans for next season if he can keep this up. His playmaking ability and slick hands when shootouts roll around have made Gagner a valuable player for the Flyers this season. Signing the 26 year-old forward could not only help the team offensively next season but may also allow a promising prospect like Travis Konecny to marinate in juniors for at least one more year before letting him make the jump.