PHILADELPHIA -- Steve Mason and the Flyers are playing their best hockey of the season heading into the Olympic break. Its a break team chariman Ed Snider would love to abolish. Mason stopped 38 shots, and Mark Streit and Michael Raffl scored goals, leading the Philadelphia Flyers past the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Thursday night. Mason blanked Detroit 5-0 on Jan. 28 and stopped the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Feb. 1. He was only 2:50 away from his fourth shutout of the season, and third in five games, when Nathan MacKinnon beat him for his 21st goal of the season. Mason stopped his first 33 shots. Mason, who signed a three-year extension last month, has been the key reason the Flyers have been able to hang around in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With one game left before the break, the Flyers recent spurt could stall because of the Olympics. "I hate them," said Snider, the Flyers founder. He added: "Its ridiculous, the whole thing is ridiculous. I dont care if it was in Philadelphia, I wouldnt want to break up the league. I think its ridiculous to take three weeks off, or however long it is, in the middle of the season. It screws up everything. .. How can anybody be happy breaking up their season. No other league does it, why should we? Theres no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives." Reminded the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup finals during the last Olympics in 2010, Snider laughed. "Maybe I like them," he said. "I forget about that." Claude Giroux, who scored an empty-netter with 20 seconds left, has plenty of time to rest during the break. He was snubbed Thursday by Hockey Canada when Martin St. Louis was picked as an injury replacement for his Tampa Bay teammate Steven Stamkos. Steve Yzerman, the Canadians executive director and Tampa Bays general manager, chose St. Louis over Giroux and Pittsburghs James Neal. "Its a farce," Snider said. "Hes one of the best players in the game. Its ridiculous. Hes better than half the guys on that team. "Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesnt belong on the Canadian team, they dont know anything about hockey as far as Im concerned. Its politics, to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy. His own guy is good, but Claude is better." The Avalanche, who lost 5-1 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, couldnt solve Mason until it was too late. The Avalanche called timeout with 1:27 left and pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov in a last-gasp effort at the tying goal. It didnt work. The Flyers scored in the second period, when Streits shot from the blue line was deflected by a defenceman and wobbled past Varlamov for his eighth goal. Streit is heading to his fourth Olympics for Switzerland. The Flyers got a scare when centre Brayden Schenn was checked from behind into the boards by Patrick Bordeleau. Schenn quickly got on his skates, and his teammates went after Bordeleau behind the net. Bordeleau threw his right elbow into Schenns back and the Flyer thumped the board, and then hit the ice. Bordeleau was hit with 5 minutes for checking from behind and a game misconduct. Colorado coach Patrick Roy was red faced and furious as he argued with the officials that the hit didnt merit an ejection. Masons play picked up after a recent pep talk from Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent. Mason stopped 14 shots in the first period and made the save of the night in the second when he robbed Gabriel Landeskog with a glove save from his rear. "I think we didnt make it hard enough for him in the first 55 minutes," Landeskog said. "I think the last five, we were in his face, banging rebounds, and trying to bang one home there and made it hard on him. We started throwing pucks from different angles and tough angles and what not." Mason posted a 1.51 goals-against-average over his last four starts, stopped 95 per cent of his shots and had two shutouts. "The job as starting goalie every night is to make sure we provide stability back there, and thats what Im trying to do," he said. Raffls seventh goal of the season, off a nice pass by Sean Couturier from behind the net, early in the third was the insurance the Flyers needed to win their third straight. NOTES: The Flyers had a video tribute and a moment of silence for former coach and general manager Keith Allen. Allen died Tuesday. He was 90. "I love Keith Allen," Snider said. ... Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang "God Bless America," alternating lyrics with Kate Smith, who was on a video image. Smiths rendition of the song has been a rallying anthem for the Flyers since the mid-1970s. John Franklin-Myers Jersey. Shot outdoors against the stunning backdrop of Banff, Alta., the networks 30-minute original production airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET on TSN2. 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Joseph Noteboom Rams Jersey. - No matter the lineup or location, the San Antonio Spurs are rolling through the NBA again this spring, just the way they have for most of the last two decades.Russias best-known track and field athlete, Yelena Isinbayeva, has failed in a last-ditch attempt to compete at the Rio Olympics. The two-time Olympic pole vault champion vowed to fight the IAAFs decision last month not to lift a blanket ban on Russian track and field athletes due to state sponsored doping and corruption.The 34-year-old described it at the time as a violation of human rights but revealed on social media on Friday that her latest application for an individual exemption was refused by the IAAF. Unfortunately, they didnt make an exception for me, Isinbayeva wrote on Instagram.They didnt admit me for the Olympics in Rio. The miracle didnt happen. Natalya Zabolotnaya and the rest of Russias weightlifters will not compete in Rio Russias weightlifting team has also been barred from Rio, the sports governing federation confirmed on Friday evening.The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said some of the Russian competitors had been named in a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.The integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians, the IWF said in a statement. Therefore aan appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport.dddddddddddd Vitaly Mutko says 272 Russian athletes will compete at Rio Meanwhile, Russia have said they will launch a legal bid to reinstate 19 of the countrys rowers who were banned from Rio because of insufficient drug testing.Russian Rowing Federation head Veniamin But has confirmed he plans to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport next week to try to overturn the ruling from World Rowing. The 19 were excluded because World Rowing said they had not been tested often enough by reliable international authorities.But Russia says most of its Olympic team will take part in Rio, with sports minister Vitaly Mutko telling local media on Friday that 272 of the countrys athletes have received approval from their individual sports federations to compete. Russia had originally planned to send a 387-strong team, Also See: Three Russian cyclists out of Rio Russian squad departs for Rio Putin: Olympic ban discrimination Zika threat at Rio low Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '