Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie Steve Mason made his first start since March 29, when he was still sporting a Columbus Blue Jackets’ sweater.
The young netminder was called upon to spell starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for a much-needed rest against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Bryz, entered the game playing in 37 of the teams 38 games—winning all 17 of the Flyers’ victories this season. And after a poor performance in Winnipeg the previous game, Mason got the nod.
According to Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marc Narducci, coach Peter Laviolette explained Mason was now a part of a goaltending duo with the team.
“Mason was brought here to be part of a goaltending duo.” He added that he didn’t want to switch goalies while the Flyers were riding a four-game winning streak, which ended in Winnipeg.
So exactly how did the young goalie perform in the most important game of the Flyers’ season?
He played well enough for a victory. Unfortunately, the Flyers, as they have done so often this season, struggled with shots (32 NYI vs. 27 PHI), costly giveaways and poor defense—leading to a 4-1 defeat.
Mason stopped 28 of 31 shots, which included an errant-deflected goal from teammates Erik Gustafsson’s stick and an incredible save on Kyle Okposo’s breakaway.
Now that Bryz has made it clear is unhappy in Philly (or vice-versa) and the extension signed by Mason, the Flyers will have another goalie situation heading into next season. According to the Courier Post’s Randy Miller, Bryzgalov could care less if the Flyers were to buy out his contract.
“You know, I have no control in this,” he said. “I can’t read the people’s mind. I can’t project things what they’re thinking, that’s why I’m not worried about things I can’t control. I maybe want one thing and they want a different thing.”
And the goalie woes continue in Philadelphia.