At the beginning of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers could say that they had some confidence issues when it came to their goaltenders. With Michal Neuvirth out with a knee injury, Steve Mason has had the brunt of the work. And that has helped him regain the confidence the Flyers so desparately needed.
Steve Mason Regaining Confidence
Stats alone don’t tell the story on Steve Mason. A 7-8-3 record with an .899 save percentage and 2.91 goals against average is nothing to write home about. It’s the quality of his performances that tell the whole story.
When Neuvirth went down with a knee injury back in mid-November, Mason commented that he relished in the increased workload.
“It simplifies things,” Mason said “As much as you try not to think about outside factors when Neuvy’s around, you do. Unfortunately. You want to play every single game. . . . So things are now clarified a little bit, but at the end of the day, you have to play well still.”
And play well Mason has. His Flyers teammates have always been his biggest supporters. And they will be the first to tell you when their goaltender has kept them in multiple games. You can look back to a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on November 17th as one of those occasions. Not only did Mason make 30 saves and only allow two goals, but the win came against a top-10 goalscoring team.
“He was incredible tonight and he saved our team so many times in the past, so we need to help him out once in awhile.” Mark Streit said of Steve Mason after the victory.
Two games later he would make 38 saves in a 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers. The only goal that Mason let in came with just 1:51 left to go in the game. This was in a game the Flyers were outshot 38-29.
“Florida had some really good chances,” Dale Weise said. “[Mason] played unbelievable. He made some game-changing saves. He was the best player on the ice.”
Those games are not his best, however. It will be the Flyers 3-2 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins this past Tuesday that will be remembered. It took a nine round shootout where only three players scored. Two of them were Flyers. Mason’s biggest and best save came on the Bruins last attempt.
“Mase battling like that tonight is unbelievable, like some of the saves he had for us were crazy and even the first period, he had some massive saves.” Travis Konecny said of Mason.
The 45 save victory for Mason put himself in the record books. He became the first goaltender to win a shootout lasting nine rounds or more after making at least 45 saves during the game.
With Neuvirth still sidelined, performances like this from Steve Mason are exactly what the Flyers like to see. With rookie Anthony Stolarz as his backup, Mason is likely to continue to hold the brunt of the work. And if he continues with performances like he had against the Bruins, the Flyers will be happy.