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Flyers begin Berube era with win over Panthers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- All the Philadelphia Flyers needed was a coaching change.

Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn scored goals, Steve Mason stopped 33 shots, and the Flyers beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Tuesday night in Craig Berube's NHL coaching debut.

A day after coach Peter Laviolette was fired, the Flyers avoided the first 0-4 start in franchise history. Berube, an enforcer during his playing career, was promoted from assistant to replace Laviolette, who led Philadelphia to within two wins of the 2010 Stanley Cup championship.

"He coached a great game," Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell said. "Our penalty kill was great. It was a huge win. We have to keep building on that."

Berube was most impressed with his team's defensive effort.

"I really liked our third period," he said. "We did a lot of good things with the puck and without the puck."

Brad Boyes scored the lone goal for the Panthers (1-2). Tim Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, allowed both of Philadelphia's goals before leaving with a groin injury.

"I don't think it's anything long term but we will evaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said.

Down 2-0, the Panthers got within one goal right before the second intermission. Boyes scored on a rebound of Brian Campbell's shot with 6.7 seconds left in the second.

Florida had an excellent chance to tie it early in the third after Philadelphia's Jay Rosehill received a double minor for roughing plus a 10-minute misconduct. However, Mason made some big saves, and the Flyers killed the Panthers' four-minute power play.

"The goaltending was good, but we had so many chances, and we have to bury those," Panthers right wing Tomas Kopecky said. "We need to score one goal, and then all of a sudden everything is going to settle down. I think we need to keep it more simple. Shoot the puck, screen the goalie, rebounds and not be too fancy. Simple always works."

A five-minute major on Erik Gudbranson for boarding Hartnell gave the Flyers a lengthy power-play chance of their own later in the third. They also failed to capitalize. Gudbranson received a game misconduct.

Mason made several tough saves throughout the game to improve to 5-0 in his career against the Panthers. He stopped Aleksander Barkov on a point-blank shot in front in the final minute of the first period. Mason then stoned Shawn Matthias on a short-handed breakaway early in the second after Kimmo Timonen turned the puck over.

"It's definitely a huge game," Mason said. "We didn't want to start 0-4. Now that we have one, hopefully the wins will roll in."

Schenn and Coburn scored similar goals off caroms 2:42 apart in the first period to put the Flyers up 2-0.

Jakub Voracek fired a slap shot that deflected off a Panthers defenseman and sailed wide of the net to the right of Thomas, who turned around to play the puck. The rebound bounced back in front to Schenn, who knocked it in.

"Jake attacked the net with a lot of speed, it took a funny bounce and you love to have goals like that," Schenn said.

Minutes later, Sean Couturier ripped a slap shot that sailed wide of Thomas to his left. Thomas again was out of position when the puck bounced around to Coburn along the boards. Coburn floated one in to snap a 27-game goal-scoring drought.

Thomas slipped trying to get up to make the save and took himself out of the game.

Jacob Markstrom replaced him and stopped all 13 shots he faced.

"It's different to come in a game like that, but what can you do," Markstrom said. "You just have to get out there and try to help out the team as best as you can."

NOTES: Berube, who became the Flyers' 18th coach Monday, made sweeping changes with his offensive lines and with the defense combinations. ... Tuesday's games was the Panthers' only trip to Philadelphia this season. The teams meet twice more in Florida. ... Schenn's last goal was Feb. 2 against Carolina. ... After losing 7-0 to the Blues on Saturday, the Panthers stayed in St. Louis and watched the NFL's Rams beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-20 at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday before flying to Philadelphia. ... Thomas entered the game 8-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in Philadelphia. ... This was the third of four straight road games for the Panthers, who never before started the season with four in a row away from home. They will finish the trip Thursday in Tampa Bay against the Lightning before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. ... The Flyers play host to the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
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