If last night’s contest between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers wasn’t a must win for Philly, it was as close as it possibly could be. The Flyers’ lack of success in Game 1 and 3 could be directed toward many issues. A lack of shots and a lagging power play unit are just a couple. Make no doubt about it , though, the goaltending was also a slight issue. Despite Ray Emery coming into the series with a 7-2 record and a 1.87 GAA against the Rangers in his career, he certainly didn’t play like it in Philadelphia’s two losses. The return of Steve Mason couldn’t have come at a better time.
To be fair, in the two losses the Flyers suffered, they failed to do plenty of things correctly. Goaltending just so happened to be one of those things. The rough part about that is the fact that the goalie is the odd man out. When the Rangers scored, Emery was in the front of the line for attacks. Though he’s not fully responsible for the losses, Mason definitely proved last night that he can completely change the entire energy of a game.
From start to finish, the jam-packed Wells Fargo Center was explosive. Mason was incredibly quick, sharp-minded, squared to the shooter, spectacular on rebounds and it looked as if an injury had never happened to him in the first place.
The lone goal Mason did surrender was a lucky bounce that landed in the stick of Dominic Moore, who was able to barely, and I mean barely, beat Mason on a wrap around. There was one particular save in the game that made you say to yourself, “Yup! He’s back!”
With just seconds ticking down in the second period, Ryan McDonagh had a man beat, step to the right of the net, tried to lift the puck through the air, but Mason had other plans as he swatted it down with his stick.
Mason was in full form last night. It’s safe to say that at two games apiece and him back in net for Philadelphia, it’s a whole new series.