Coyotes-Flyers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 11, 2013
It appears all the Philadelphia Flyers needed was a change at the top. Philadelphia tries to improve to 2-0 under Craig Berube when it hosts the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night. After getting outscored 9-3 in losing each of their first three games, the Flyers (1-3-0) fired coach Peter Laviolette on Monday and promoted Berube to replace him. "It just came to that point where I had a gut feeling on my part where I felt we needed a change," general manager Paul Holmgren told the team's official website. It didn't take long for Berube to make an impact, guiding Philadelphia to a 2-1 win over Florida the following night. Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first period and Steve Mason made 33 saves, helping avoid the first 0-4 start in franchise history. "We have to get better, we have to have more of an attack," said Berube, whose team went 0 for 5 on the power play. "I know we do have good offensive players here. It's just a matter of getting them confident." Berube, in his seventh season coaching within the organization, spent several seasons with the Flyers and played for four other teams during a 17-year career in the NHL. His 3,149 penalty minutes rank seventh all-time. "With the career he had, the type of player he was, he's not going to take anything from people," Mason said. "Guys better be working hard." Mason has more than held his own in three games, posting a 2.02 goals-against average, significantly lower than his career mark of 2.86. "Part of the position is coming up big on key opportunities," he said. "There were a couple saves there (Tuesday) that needed to be made in order to preserve the lead and just moving forward it's something to build off of and, you know, I'm feeling good about that right now." Mason is 3-6-0 with a 3.25 GAA in nine career starts against Phoenix. Teammate Ray Emery earned two road wins over the Coyotes last season while with Chicago, 6-4 on Jan. 20 and 6-2 on Feb. 7. Emery allowed all four goals in Saturday's 4-1 loss at Montreal in his only action thus far, and it is unclear who will be in net Friday. "That's up to Chief to decide who goes in," Mason said. "You guys want to make this huge deal out of it. But Razor and I, our job is just every day, not matter who's in net, is to be the better goalie of the two playing that night. We're not going to dwell on who's starting." The Flyers are 8-3-1 in their last 12 home games against the Coyotes (2-2-0), who improved to 1-2 on their five-game road trip with Thursday's 4-2 win over Detroit. Mikkel Boedker, Derek Morris and Antoine Vermette each had a goal and an assist for Phoenix, which had dropped its previous two games by a combined 10-2 score. "To respond the way we did after two ugly ones is the way to go," said defenseman Michael Stone, who scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period. After allowing eight goals in his previous two games, Mike Smith bounced back to make 28 saves against the Red Wings. "We figured out what we have to do to be in a hockey game," he said. Smith has posted an ugly 5.75 GAA during a personal five-start losing streak against the Flyers.
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