By Harry Allison
How times have changed in the Flyers’ goaltending situation!
Michal Neuvirth suffered an injury on Nov. 13, and goaltender Anthony Stolarz was recalled from the Phantoms, but expectations were that Steve Mason would shoulder most of the load.
The team blew by opponents en route to a 10-game win streak which stretched from Nov. 27 to Dec. 17. They are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and they’ve jumped into fifth place in the conference standings, five points above the eighth-place Boston Bruins.
Mason has been the backbone for the Flyers.
Since Neuvirth’s injury, Mason has posted a goals against average of 2.26. His save percentage has gone from sub-.900 to a slightly more average 0.908. In his last four games, however, he’s been on fire, with a 0.935 save percentage.
He’s rebounded to have 12 quality starts in his last 19 games, after zero in his first nine, according to HockeyReference.com.
His most notable victory in the stretch was a Dec. 21 3-2 shootout win over the same Capitals that sent them packing in April. Mason made 36 saves in the game, including one highlight-reel save on Matt Niskanen, which kept the game from ending in the extra frame.
Afterward, Mason told the press, “A hard-fought game, a battle. It’s good to get back in the winning column. You go on a 10-game win streak, you can’t let it slide. Two losses in a row…you can’t let it slide and counteract everything you’ve done during the winning streak.”