Jason Akeson's 'short memory' pays off

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers rookie Jason Akeson has the sort of skill, spunk and confidence that can make him a dangerous player in the playoffs, even with his utter lack of experience.

He possesses another important attribute, one that has already helped him in the series, and one that will certainly aid him throughout what could be a long NHL career ahead.

"He's got a short memory," said Flyers winger Jakub Voracek. "That's what you have to have to be successful in this league."

That much was abundantly clear when Akeson delivered the Flyers' game-tying goal in the second period, ripping a rebound into an open net at the left post in what was a terrific come-from-behind effort that allowed the Flyers to top the New York Rangers 4-2 on Sunday and send the series back to Philadelphia tied at one game each.

Akeson, of course, had the dubious honor of being the Game 1 goat after taking a costly double-minor high-sticking penalty on forward Carl Hagelin on Thursday that resulted in a pair of power-play goals for the Rangers. The crushing mistake came in his NHL playoff debut. Previously, he had played in two NHL games in his career.

And what was worse? He had otherwise played a really good game, providing the team with the type of energy and jump that was largely lacking in their opening game against their Metropolitan Division rivals.

"I think he was the best player on the ice in our first game, to be honest," said Voracek, who was held without a shot in the loss. "That happens and it's unfortunate, but he's a very good player and he has a good mindset."

Indeed, the 23-year-old didn't hide from the media after his game-changing gaffe. He didn't sulk, even when coach Craig Berube was candid in his blunt assessment of the mistake.

"He's got to be better with his stick," he said after Thursday's game. As such, Berube showed no hesitation going back to the young forward, inserting him in Sunday's starting lineup with linemates Matt Read and Sean Couturier and using him again on the power play.

"Should I sit out everybody that takes a penalty?" Berube said, joking, Sunday. "I understand he took a four-minute penalty, but he played well and it was a mistake. He's a good player. He's played well for us."

Akeson, who spent 70 games playing with the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms this season, admitted he got a boost knowing that Berube "had his back." His teammates also told him to shake it off and move on to the next game. Judging by his performance, he did that expertly.

"It's obviously not a fun thing to go through, but you don't dwell on it," Akeson said. "You move on and focus on Game 2."

Akeson said he went into Sunday's action with a little something to prove, wanting to atone for Thursday's slip-up. But that didn't temper his intensity or the edge he played with on the ice.

"This time of year, you have to think about the next shift, the next time you're out there," said Couturier. "You can't think about what happened in the past, because it's going to haunt you down. I think he responded really well tonight."