Flyers defeat Columbus behind Steve Mason

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Flyers goalie Steve Mason stops the puck during the second-period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Philadelphia.

If this was goalie Steve Mason's final appearance with the Flyers, he went out in style Saturday afternoon.

Mason made 20 saves against his former team and recorded his 200th career victory as the Flyers defeated Columbus, 4-2, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Both goals were scored on double deflections off Flyers.

The Flyers received scoring from unexpected sources. Fourth-line center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored his first goal in 36 games, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto netted his second tally in 35 games as the Flyers roughed up Sergei Bobrovsky, the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov (first goal in 10 games) and right winger Jake Voracek (20th goal) also scored for the Flyers, who will finish their season Sunday night against visiting Carolina.

Mason is a prospective free agent, and since Anthony Stolarz is expected to start against Carolina, he may have played his final game with the Orange and Black.

Poll

Should the Flyers find a new goalie?

"I'm definitely well aware of it," said Mason, whose agent has not negotiated with the Flyers all season, leading to speculation he won't be re-signed. He would be one of the top goaltenders in the free-agent market. "But I'm not in a position moving forward where I have any indication of what may be happening."

Mason, who will turn 29 next month, said that as he explores free agency this summer, it will be an "uneasy, exciting, and special time, I'm sure. I'm hoping there's going to be opportunities that present themselves. I'll be stressed out if there's nothing, but if there are options, then the ball's in my court."

He called getting his 200th win against his former team "special" and praised all his teammates, past and present.

"I've been fortunate enough to play with a lot of teammates I consider friends," he said. "Two hundred wins is obviously a team stat."

Mason notched his 104th victory with the Flyers, which is third in franchise history, behind only Ron Hextall (240) and Bernie Parent (232). He is 26-21-8 this season, and 104-78-36 in his four-plus seasons with the Flyers.

If he doesn't return to the Flyers, Mason said, he will regret "never experiencing a playoff beyond the first round. We came so close in my first full year here, and I really believe if we had gotten past the Rangers in the first round, we could have done [damage]. We had a team that was confident and we were scoring goals."

Mason, despite battling a concussion that sidelined him early in that 2014 series, was brilliant and nearly stole Game 7. He compiled a 1.97 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in the series.

Mason has a 26-21-8 record this season with a 2.66 goals-against average, and .908 save percentage.

"He's had a streaky season," coach Dave Hakstol said. "He's played very well down the stretch."

After a 3-2 loss in Winnipeg on March 21, Mason called out the team for its listless performance - "We need to be a more desperate team," he said, among other things. The going-nowhere Jets had used a goalie who was recently a third-stringer, had five defensemen sidelined by injuries, and had three AHL call-ups among its defenders.

"When I speak after games, it's never anything personal," Mason said Saturday. "I hold myself accountable for everything from a personal standpoint. I believe I step up and take the blame sometimes when I let in bad goals. Maybe sometimes I should use my words more clearly, but it's never anything personal with any of the guys. I think they understand that. It's just that I care and I want to have success with this organization."

Mason said no teammates have ever addressed him about blunt remarks he has made about the team.

Saturday's game was meaningless to both teams. The Flyers (39-33-9) were eliminated from the playoffs last Sunday, and Columbus (49-24-8) has already clinched third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh will face the Blue Jackets in the opening round, and the Penguins have secured home-ice advantage.

"We have a lot of pride in ourselves, playing for one another and playing for the fans," Del Zotto said. "The fans here are passionate in this hockey market and we're not going out without an effort." 

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

www.philly.com/flyersblog

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