Cullen: Notes on Mason, Toews, Getzlaf, Richards, Leddy

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Scott Cullen
4/26/2014 5:32:05 PM
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Mason gets the Flyers to even, Toews lifts the Blackhawks to another OT win and Getzlaf's return helps Ducks pull away from the Stars. Also, notes on Richards, Leddy, Horcoff and more.

FREE MASON

Steve Mason, making his first start of the playoffs, stopped 37 of 38 New York Rangers shots to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 win in Game Four, evening the series at two games apiece.

It was the first postseason win in six career playoff appearances for Mason, who last started April 12 when he suffered an upper-body injury.

The Flyers' defence had some possession extremes. The pairing of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen were on for better than two-thirds of the 5-on-5 shot attempts, while the duo of Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn were at the other end of the spectrum.

Rangers C Brad Richards had all kinds of opportunities, generating a playoff-high 14 shot attempts, but their only goal was scored by Dominic Moore early in the first period.

Flyers D Nicklas Grossman was forced to leave early after suffering a lower-body injury. If he's not able to get back in the lineup for Game Five, then Erik Gustafsson or Hal Gill will be available to join the lineup.

Now that the series is even, the goaltending battle between Mason and Henrik Lundqvist will be in the spotlight. That figures to be an advantage for the Rangers, but it wasn't in Game Four.

CAPTAIN SERIOUS WITH THE WINNER

After Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane pulled the trigger on the overtime winner in Game Four, Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews managed the feat, with a backhand deke on a breakaway to win the game in OT.

Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa had a strong game, scoring his first goal of the series and registering a game-high seven shots on goal.

Blues C David Backes, who missed the past two games with a concussion, returned to the St. Louis lineup and had a game-high eight hits in 21:35 of ice time.

Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook, suspended three games for knocking out Backes, is due to return for Game Six. His replacement, Sheldon Brookbank, has chipped in a couple of assists in three games, but has struggled in terms of puck possession.

Over the past two games, Blackhawks D Nick Leddy has been on for 41 shot attempts for and 12 against (77.4%) at 5-on-5. 61.8% for the series. In a series that is so close that there is a five shot attempt difference between the teams at even strength, Leddy's doing his part to win his matchups.

Losing back-to-back overtime games is tough for the Blues, who now have to find a way to win back-to-back games, starting with Game Six in Chicago.

DUCKS TAKE FLIGHT

The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks were engaged in a competitive game, with the Ducks holding a one-goal lead entering the third period, before the Ducks broke the game open with three goals in the first seven minutes of the third period, wrapping up a 6-2 in in Game Five.

 The big news for the Ducks was that C Ryan Getzlaf returned to the lineup, after missing Game Four, and recorded a goal and two assists to lead the way. Getzlaf's linemate, Corey Perry, also contributed a goal and two assists.

Ducks G Frederik Andersen, who was pulled from Game Four, responded with a strong effort, stopping 34 of 36 shots by the Stars.

At the other end, Stars G Kari Lehtonen was pulled after surrendering five goals on 21 shots, giving way to Tim Thomas, who stopped one of the two shots he faced in the final 14:38 of the third period.

Stars D Brenden Dillon appeared in his first game in two weeks and played 20:18, but he struggled at times, and finished with Dallas' worst possession stats for the game.

One positive to take from the game for Dallas is that LW Jamie Benn was a force, scoring a shorthanded goal and creating a bunch of chances. Also, C Tyler Seguin was firing shots as the Stars attempted to come back, finishing with 13 shot attempts, eight of which ended up on net.

Through the first five games Benn, with five points, is tied with veteran C Shawn Horcoff for the Stars' playoff scoring lead. For Anaheim, it's Getzlaf, who has seven points in four games in this series.

The Stars have lost some lopsided games in the series, but have solid enough possession stats to feel like they are still in this series. If they can hold serve at home in Game Six, that will set up an interesting winner-take-all matchup in Game Seven.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Jonathan Toews (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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