Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender Steve Mason made his first appearance since Apr. 12 in Game 3 against the New York Rangers. The only problem was he played just over seven minutes in relief of Ray Emery, who got the start. It begs the question if you’re a Flyers fan of why didn’t Mason start Game 3 to begin with?
Sure, Emery was coming off an impressive win in Game 2 that evened the series for Philly, but if Mason was ready to start Game 3, he should have. Obviously that decision was head coach Craig Berube’s and not Mason’s, but the netminder says he’s ready to play in Game 4 if called upon.
Berube’s choice should be a no-brainer. If he’s healthy, it has to be Mason. He gives the Flyers a much better chance of winning in this tough series with New York. He stays square to the shooter and is much quicker moving side to side than Emery. He’s also much better at controlling rebounds, something that has hurt Emery and the Flyers thus far in the series.
Philadelphia fell behind in Game 3 on a goal that Emery should have had easily. Rick Nash threw the puck towards the net and Emery stabbed at it with his glove, tipping the puck but not catching it. Derek Stephan quickly collected the rebound and put it past Emery for a 1-0 Rangers lead at the time. Emery’s numbers were mediocre at best, saving 16-of-20 New York shots. In the playoffs and especially against the Rangers, you can’t afford to allow any soft goals.
Mason only faced three shots in his relief appearance, but he saved all three. Another positive for Mason is that he gets two days of rest between Games 3 and 4. He was able to get his feet wet at the end of Game 3 before he’s thrust into the fire that is Rangers-Flyers.
Coach Berube has not announced a starter for Friday night’s Game 4 in Philadelphia, but odds are it will be Mason. If it is, the goalie will be looking for his first career win in the playoffs.