Voracek and Mason, Lead Flyers Past the Panthers
PHILADELPHIA -- Sean Couturier had a goal and an assist in the first period, Jakub Voracek continued his offensive surge, and the Philadelphia Flyers cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Voracek got his sixth goal of the season to pull into tie with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby with a league-leading 19 points. Michael Del Zotto and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored for Philadelphia, which has won four straight at home. Brayden Schenn added two assists.
Nick Bjugstad scored his first goal of the season for the Panthers, who had earned at least one point in their previous seven games.
Steve Mason made 35 saves, including a big third-period stop on Bjugstad, to pick up his second straight win for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo stopped 30 shots for Florida.
The Flyers dominated the first period, opening the scoring 3:53 into the game when Couturier deflected in a shot from Schenn. The play developed when Schenn won the puck with a forecheck and Matt Read slid a pass from the corner to him and Schenn one-timed a shot toward net.
Less than three minutes later, the same line struck again as the Flyers took a 2-0 lead on Del Zotto's first goal with Philly. The defenseman scored after rifling a tough-angle shot past an out-of-position Luongo with Schenn and Couturier getting the assists.
The Flyers picked up right where they left off early in the second period with Bellemare one-timing one over Luongo's shoulder following a turnover and feed from Carlo Colaiacovo. The assist marked Colaiacovo's first point in two games with the Flyers.
The Panthers pulled to 3-1 with 8:10 remaining in the second period on a power-play goal from Bjugstad, who pounced on a rebound. Jimmy Hayes, who split the Flyers' penalty kill to put a backhander on net, and Dmitry Kulikov got the assists after Philly's Chris VandeVelde was sent to the box for high-sticking.
It was the first power-play goal the Flyers allowed at home this season, snapping their streak at 19 straight penalty kills.
Just 39 seconds later, the Flyers regained their three-goal cushion when Voracek scored as Claude Giroux set him up with a perfectly executed 2-on-1 break.
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