Steve Mason was back on the ice for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday. The Flyers No. 1 goalie said he felt good after participating in a goalie-centric practice in New York Friday morning.
“We still have a couple days before Sunday rolls around, so that's definitely my goal,” Mason told reporters of his hopes to play in Game 2, also noting that it will be up to head coach Craig Berube and the team's medical staff. (via CSNPhilly.com)
The Flyers goaltender played coy when it came to the nature of the injury and would not say whether or not he felt "healthy."
Mason is expected to practice again Saturday, which may include some more strenuous work compared to Friday's practice.
“His health is the most important thing,” Berube told the media Friday. “I've said that all along. I'll talk to him today and see how he feels and talk Jeff Reese the goalie coach and we'll go from there.”
Though he did not travel with the team, the Flyers goaltender made it to New York in time to be in attendance for Thursday night's loss to the Rangers.
Backup Ray Emery performed well, giving up two even-strength goals and making 32 saves in the 4-1 loss, which Mason said lessens the need for a hasty return.
That said, Mason has been playing some of the best hockey of his career for much of the season for the Flyers with a 33-18-7 record, .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average. He's the guy Philadelphia wants between the pipes.
The 25-year-old netminder was signed to a four-year, $12.3 million extension earlier this season to remain with the club through 2016-17 after playing on a one-year “show-me” deal with the team this season.
Mason has been to the playoffs once in his career, as a rookie with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008-09. That series ended in a sweep. Though a sour memory for Mason, he asserted Friday he is a different goaltender than he was then. As long as he's healthy, he could get a chance to prove that assertion soon.
Here's Mason's full media scrum from earlier Friday.