The Flyers 3-1 win over the Capitals may have come at a huge price.
Steve Mason, whose play between the pipes has helped the Flyers to a 5-0-1 record in their last six games, was assisted off the ice by training staff during a TV timeout in the second period. To that point, he had stopped all eight shots he faced.
Ray Emery entered the game and was tested early, facing a two-man disadvantage. He looked sharp despite allowing a goal by Alexander Ovechkin late in the period. He made the key saves when needed and preserved the victory.
After the game, GM Ron Hextall addressed Mason’s latest injury woes, which have overshadowed a quietly productive season.
“Sometimes those things come in waves. You get injured multiple times. Other times, you go years without,” Hextall said.
With Emery, the Flyers will try to continue their winning ways and make a final push for a playoff spot. In 21 game appearances, the 32-year-old is 9-9-1 with a 3.34 GAA and .886 save%. While these numbers are not astounding, they could improve during this stretch where the Flyers have played a better defensive game, limiting turnovers and blocking shots.
Emery has had success in his career when given defensive help. In 2012-13 as a member of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, Emery was surrounded by a supporting cast that included the likes of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. He went 17-0-1 in games he started, posting a solid 1.94 GAA and .922 save%. The Flyers do not have any defensemen of that caliber on the current roster, but they can find ways to win in the short term with what they have.
To back up Emery, the team has recalled Anthony Stolarz from the Phantoms. Rob Zepp, who was 3-1 earlier this season in relief of Mason, was unavailable due to injury.
Unfortunately, Mason will be missed at this crucial point of the season. He has been playing as well as any goalie in the NHL right now, and the Flyers are already facing an uphill climb. He did not make the trip to Montreal and is being examined by team doctors today. It is likely he will also miss Friday’s game in Columbus and Sunday’s game in Buffalo.
For now, the specifics of the lower-body injury are unclear, although it could be related to a right knee issue he suffered last month, which kept him out of action for two weeks.