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Mason gains 100th career win , helps Flyers beat Ottawa

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- A milestone win for goalie Steve Mason helped the Philadelphia Flyers play the spoiler's role Saturday night at Scotiabank Place.

It also left the Ottawa Senators with a meaningful regular season finale and different playoff scenarios to consider.

Mason made 43 saves while Jakub Voracek scored the deciding goal in the third period to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the Senators in front of 20,232 fans, Ottawa's 17th sellout of the season.

It was the 100th career victory for Mason, who finishes the campaign with four straight W's to his credit and a new lease on life after being obtained from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline.

"It's a great feeling to end off the season on a high note," said Mason, who had a 1.90 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in seven appearances for the off-season destination bound Flyers. "Coming here felt like it was a complete rebirth. Coming to the rink happy, full of confidence. I'm just really, really happy to be here."

The Senators left after the game for Boston, where they will determine their first round opponent in a Sunday wrap-up meeting with the Bruins. A regulation time victory over the B's will set up an Ottawa-Montreal series. Should the Senators lose in overtime or a shootout, they will play Boston in Round 1.

And a loss in 60 minutes will leave the Senators in eighth place and with the unenviable task of taking on the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round.

The Senators have lost all four games thus far against the Bruins, each by one goal.

"The bottom line is, you want to have a winning atmosphere around here," said Senators goalie Craig Anderson, who made 23 saves. "In order to do that, you're going to have to score more than one goal. Right now, it's kind of the way things are going. We're generating a lot of chances, just not able to bury them in the back of the net. Hopefully, it starts to turn for us."

Jason Akeson scored his first goal, in his first NHL game, for the Flyers. Kyle Turris had Ottawa's goal. It was his 11th of the season.

"It's good to see we finished strong like that," said Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux after the Flyers wound up with a 23-22-3 - marking the first time they've been over the .500 level all season. "We finished as a team. We learned a lot this year. We're a young team. To finish strong like that, everybody was on the same page, we were having fun. We're going to learn to win."

The Senators (24-17-6) need to learn how to win again on home ice. After playing so well at Scotiabank Place most of the season, they've now lost their last three games there to finish with a 15-6-3 record within their friendliest confines.

"The shots flattered us a little bit, but we flat out didn't play hard enough to win the game," said coach Paul MacLean. "That's disappointing at this time of year, to lose three in a row at home. That could be a huge difference in the standings, and it's going to end up (telling) the tale. "

NOTES: The Flyers called up Akeson from their AHL affiliate so he could play his first NHL game in his hometown. Akeson's teammates had some fun at this expense when they told him to lead the way out for the pre-game warm-up, then stepped back so he would unknowingly jump out on the ice for a solo lap. Akeson would put another smile on the faces of teammates with his first NHL goal at the 3:48 mark of the opening period. ... The return of Erik Karlsson put Senators rookie defenseman Patrick Wiercioch in the press box for a second straight game. Wiercioch entered the night tied for sixth in team scoring. In 41 games he has five goals and 14 assists, along with a plus-8 rating ... Also among the Senators healthy scratches was winger Guillaume Latendresse, who has settled into a rotation with tough guy Matt Kassian. ... Flyers GM Paul Holmgren blasted reporters for asking him about the future of coach Peter Laviolette at Scotiabank Place before the game. ... Anderson made his seventh consecutive start. Coach Paul MacLean was expected to give him a rest and go with rookie Robin Lehner in Boston Sunday, but after the game MacLean said he would go with the players who give the team the best chance to win in Boston.
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