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Flyers vs. Stars recap: Helping out the draft position, at least

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The Flyers wasted a stellar effort by Steve Mason and fell 2-1 to the Dallas Stars, after being thoroughly dominated in the game's latter two periods.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers were 14 seconds away from cutting their playoff deficit to two points before failing to close the deal. Two lackluster losses later and the dream of a playoff run is all but dead.

The Flyers didn't start flat; in fact, the first ten minutes of tonight's game against the Dallas Stars were the team's best of the contest. Luke Schenn scored an early goal from the point, and his teammates were pushing the play from the opening faceoff.

But around the midpoint of the first, Dallas started to take away space for the Flyers in the neutral zone, and possessions that once were generating scoring chances and multiple shot attempts started to become turnovers and one-and-dones. From the Brett Ritchie goal through the end of the period, Dallas looked like the better team as the Flyers began to chase the game. Still, a tie score after one left hope that the team would make some quick adjustments at intermission and revert back to their strong early-game play.

Instead, the second period simply continued the trend, and the third period was even worse. Truthfully, the score should have been 3-1 or 4-1 by the time Vernon Fiddler finally beat Mason to give the Stars the lead. The Flyers eventually were outshot 14-5 in the final stanza, a period that was tied for almost 14 minutes.

The results of the weekend made the playoffs nearly impossible, but this performance just cemented the fact that the Flyers will not be playing any extra hockey this season.

A few more observations on the game:

  • The first line was the only one to show life throughout the entirety of the game. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn all missed on finishing chances, but at least they were creating something. Unfortunately, it was difficult to point out anyone else on the team doing anything to jumpstart the offense.
  • The real story of the game was Steve Mason, who truly deserved a win tonight. He didn't make many highlight reel saves, but his positioning was nearly flawless. Anyone worried that the abrupt departure of Jeff Reese would negatively affect his game should stop fretting.
  • In the least surprising event of the night, Zac Rinaldo took a minor penalty in his first shift of the game. Exactly the kind of guy that you want in the lineup.
  • The Bellemare line was basically used as the third line at even strength, so that means that not only were Michael Raffl and Ryan White saddled with Rinaldo, they also received fourth line minutes. I'll be charitable and just say that's a questionable coaching decision.
  • Nick Schultz received the least even strength and total minutes of any blueliner on the team tonight. A bit odd to see a player just locked up to an extension used like a sixth defenseman.
  • Luke Schenn had a goal in the first period, and is now up to two goals and nine assists (11 points) in his last 21 games - actually a decent pace for a defenseman. But then he puts himself out of position in the defensive zone on Dallas' first goal of the night, and you remember that he is still a third-pair talent at best.