Steve Mason might be back in goal tonight.

By Sam Bush

So, the West Coast trip begins tonight for the Flyers with the San Jose Sharks, who had gone 0-1-2 to begin a six-game home stand before last Saturday’s win over Anaheim.

Flyers coach Craig Berube, stinging from absentee owner Ed Snider’s non-support as expressed in the Inquirer today — “that’s not my job” — is clearly on thin ice.

Philly (8-12-3) suffered a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers to begin a five-game road trip in discouraging fashion. On top of the overall skid, the Flyers are in danger of their first eight-game road losing streak since March 3-29, 1988.

“It’s mental,” Berube said. “Every guy has to man up and do their job. My job is to get these guys going in the right direction.”

They’ve now been outscored 13-4 on the four-game skid and closed November with a 1-7-1 stretch, and the players have made it clear that blame should be directed at them rather than Berube.

“It’s on us,” said Wayne Simmonds, who has three goals in 19 games after opening the season with five in his first four. “This has nothing to do with the coach, nothing to do with systems.”

One of the main issues has been a penalty kill that has a 65.7 percent success rate over the last nine games. A lot of that damage has been sustained on the road, where the Flyers have a 62.2 percent season mark. The Sharks’ power play is among the best in the league at 23.8 percent.

The loss to the Rangers was Ray Emery’s fourth in as many starts and he has a 4.35 goals-against average in that span, so Steve Mason could be in net against the Sharks.

While Mason has dropped his last three starts, he’s given Philadelphia more of a chance with a 2.30 GAA. He’s won three of his last four versus San Jose and was in goal for the Flyers’ split with the Sharks a season ago. That 5-2 result in San Jose on Feb. 3 stands as Philadelphia’s only win over the last 15 games in the series.

The Flyers’ limited goal scoring of late could benefit Antti Niemi, who hasn’t been at his best at home this season with a 2-3-2 record and 2.67 GAA. With San Jose, he’s 1-1-0 with a 2.32 GAA against the Flyers.

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