Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Mason stopped 33 shots and a pair of goals early in the first period staked the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn tallied for the Flyers, who gave Craig Berube a win in his NHL head coaching debut. Berube was named to the post after Peter Laviolette was fired Monday in the wake of the club's second consecutive 0-3 start.
"Well it's huge (to get that first win). The players were squeezing their sticks, bearing down trying to score but overall we had a great effort," Berube said.
Brad Boyes recorded the lone score for the Panthers, who were coming off a 7-0 loss in St. Louis on Saturday.
Tim Thomas lasted just 7:31 of game time before being pulled due to a lower- body injury, having allowed two goals on five shots. Jacob Markstrom finished the contest perfect on 13 shots faced.
"Just slightly pulled his groin, so I don't think it's anything long term," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. "We will evaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at."
Philadelphia maintained its one-goal edge by killing off a four-minute Panthers power play in the early portion of the third period, an ill-advised roughing infraction by little-used Jay Rosehill.
Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson was given a major for boarding Scott Hartnell with 9:59 remaining along with a game misconduct but the hosts couldn't convert despite pressure near the end of the advantage and six total shots.
Schenn was clipped with a high stick from Panthers blueliner Ryan Whitney with 2:37 to play and the hosts continued to give Mason no margin for error, bringing their power play to 2-for-19 in four games.
Markstrom was unable to leave his crease for an extra skater but the Flyers managed to hold on, avoiding the first 0-4 start in franchise history.
"We gave them some good opportunities and Mase came up big for us," Berube admitted "It's a learning thing. We're going to get better."
It took the hosts just 4:49 of game time to hit the scoreboard. Jakub Voracek's blast from the point caromed off the back boards, and a charging Schenn was able to tap home the rebound as Thomas scrambled inside his crease.
Despite failing to click on a subsequent power play, Coburn's prayer from the right point sailed by an out-of-position Thomas to make it 2-0 with 7:31 played.
"It's good. The only way to chip in is to get there," Coburn said.
Markstrom entered the Florida crease after Thomas left for the locker room, and held the Flyers at bay for the remainder of the period.
"We're confident with him back there," said Panthers forward Shawn Matthias. "He is a good young goalie, and he did a good job coming in tonight and gave us a chance."
Mason denied an open Jonathan Huberdeau chance in the first minute of play, then stoned rookie Aleksander Barkov in close with the pad inside the final minute of action to keep it a two-goal margin.
He turned away Matthias' short-handed chance early in the second period and 11 more until a fluke rebound came to Boyes at the left side and the veteran made no mistake with less than seven seconds on the clock to pull the Panthers within 2-1.
Coburn hadn't scored since last Feb. 2 in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes ... Florida had won three in a row and four of the last five in Philadelphia since December of 2010 ... The Flyers have never dropped four straight games in regulation to start any season, but began 2008-09 campaign under John Stevens with an 0-3-3 mark ... Coming into the contest, Thomas had gone 8-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .947 save percentage and a pair of shutouts over eight starts in Philly ... Mason improved to 5-0 lifetime against the Panthers with a goals-against which will tick below the 1.21 it had been entering play ... Despite the victory, the Flyers tied a dubious franchise record for fewest goals (5) in the first four games of a season, accomplished in 1976-77 and this past January.