PHILADELPHIA -- A new coach didn't solve all the Philadelphia Flyers' problems, but for one night at least they looked to have gotten on the right path.
Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn each scored a goal, and Steve Mason made 33 saves when the Flyers, in the debut of coach Craig Berube, defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 2-1 for their first victory of the season.
The Flyers opened the season with three straight losses and were outscored 9-3, leading to the firing of Peter Laviolette on Monday. For the first time this season, however, the bounces started going their way, literally.
Each goal was the result of a fortuitous bounce off the boards behind the Florida net, and neither will win any beauty prizes. But when you're 0-3-0, any little bit helps.
"I'm not going to complain," Coburn said. "Any way you can get them, I'll take it."
Coburn's goal, which came 2:42 after Schenn opened the scoring 4:49 of the first period, came after Sean Couturier's long shot went wide of the net. Panthers goalie Tim Thomas went down awkwardly to defend the shot and struggled to regain his footing. When the puck rolled along the right wall to Coburn, the defenseman floated a shot on net that Thomas, stumbling through the crease, let get past him at 7:31.
"I saw him fall and I thought he ran into this defenseman there," Coburn said. "You just see what happens. Sometimes he kicks it back out into the slot. I didn't know it was going to go in."
Thomas immediately left the ice and spent the remainder of the game in the locker room.
"Just slightly pulled his groin, so I don't think it's anything long-term, but we will evaluate him [Wednesday] and see where he's at," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. He added there's a chance the team would recall veteran Scott Clemmensen from the team's American Hockey League affiliate.
Jacob Markstrom replaced Thomas and stopped all 25 shots he faced.
Brad Boyes scored for the Panthers, and though Florida outshot Philadelphia 34-30, the Panthers lost their second straight following a season-opening 4-2 win at the Dallas Stars. The Panthers lost 7-0 at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Florida misfired on five power plays, dropping to 0-for-16 with the man-advantage.
"At the end of it we're not displeased with the way we played, but you don't win the game," Dineen said. "We need to find a way to finish those off and to turn those momentum pushes into some offense and eventually that turns into points."
Schenn's goal to open the game was similar to Coburn's.
Jakub Voracek took advantage of a bad pass in the neutral zone by the Panthers' Tomas Fleischmann and carried the puck into the Florida zone. Voracek fired a shot that kicked off the boards behind the Florida net and caromed in front. Thomas tried to grab it but it bounced past him into slot, where Schenn knocked it in for his second goal of the season.
"They're lucky goals," Berube said. "That happens. We say 'Shoot pucks,' sometimes they go in, you never know."
After what stood as an offensive onslaught for the Flyers, who had one even-strength goal in their first three games, they relied on Mason and strong penalty-killing to secure the win.
Making his second straight start, Mason was at his best in the last minute of the first period, when he denied rookie Aleksander Barkov on a one-timer from the slot then stopped defenseman Ryan Whitney on the rebound.
In the third, Mason backstopped a four-minute penalty kill after Jay Rosehill was assessed a double-minor for roughing at 2:48. That came after the goalie helped the Flyers kill off back-to-back minor penalties midway through the second.
"I thought he played really well," Coburn said of Mason. "He was big in the net. He made some really big saves on what looked like 1-on-1 opportunities with the shooter and him. He was really solid."
It was the first time this season Mason made back-to-back starts and said getting the chance in Berube's first game was a confidence booster.
"Regardless of what game it is, if you're going in the coach has confidence in you," Mason said. "To get the back-to-back starts, to be able to get the first win out of the way, is definitely nice. At the same time it's one game out of the whole schedule. Something to build off of, but it's a small thing in a big picture."
The Flyers had chances to increase their lead, including a five-minute power play when the Panthers' Erik Gudbranson was assessed a boarding major and a game misconduct at 10:01 of the third. They managed six shots, but few real scoring chances, and went 0-for-5 on the power play.
"The power play has to get better," Berube said. "Offensively we have to get better, we have to have more of an attack. ... The players are squeezing their stick, everyone can see that."
Berube said he was pleased with most of what he saw but wasn't going to do any celebrating of his first victory. There's a lot work for him and his coaching staff to do between now and their next game, Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"It's over," Berube said. "We're worrying about [Wednesday]. Practice, get some things going, get working on things we have to work on."
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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