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Steve Mason doesn't travel with Flyers, won't play Game 1 vs. Rangers

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Steve Mason is out for Game 1, potentially longer. (Getty Images)
Steve Mason is out for Game 1, potentially longer. (Getty Images)

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The Philadelphia Flyers already had their hands full with the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist as their first-round playoff foe, now they're going to have to start the series without their top goaltender.

Steve Mason has been battling an upper-body injury but just a couple days ago coach Craig Berube was hopeful he'd be OK for the start of the playoffs. He's not. Mason will not dress for Game 1 on Thursday.

Mason isn't even travelling with the Flyers to New York which would normally put Game 2 in serious doubt as well but it's not as though Mason couldn't make the trip in a couple of hours so that's not a real indication yet.

Even missing one game, though, puts the Flyers in a tough spot. As maligned as Mason is from his terrible final years in Columbus, he has been good for the Flyers this season. Not outstanding but definitely good and better than the Flyers have had in net for a long time. He took over the No. 1 role early and posted a .917 save percentage with 33 wins in 61 games. There were times in the season that Mason carried the Flyers.

At least in Emery they do have an experienced guy to turn to but he has not had a good season in his return to the Flyers. He started 21 games and struggled, going 9-12-2 with a .903 save percentage. At least Emery has been good in his career against the Rangers, so there's that.

Cal Heeter, who played the final game of the season, will serve as the backup to Emery in Game 1 and for however long Mason might be out.

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