Photo Gallery: Steve Mason all but stood on his head in Flyers’ shootout win

Photo Gallery: Steve Mason all but stood on his head in Flyers’ shootout win

Steve Mason continues to make the Philadelphia Flyers relevant. In the box score, it was another ho-hum 34-save night that carried the orange and black to a 3-2 shootout victory in Nashville on Saturday, but as you can see from these photos, the effort was far from routine.

Mason kicks, pokes, swats, dives and sprawls to make one incredible stop after another, including on all three of the Predators’ shootout attempts. AP photographer Mark Humphrey got some outstanding shots of the acrobatics.

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The Flyers’ number one goaltender has only allowed more than two goals in a game once over his past nine starts for a 6-1-2 record, blocking in excess of 30 shots in five of those. He hasn’t surrendered more than three markers in an appearance yet this season.

Not surprisingly, Mason is steadily climbing the NHL leaderboards as a result. The 25-year-old is up to 11th with a 2.09 goals against average, and he’s cracked the top 10 in save percentage, up to eight with a .934.

Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier scored Philadelphia’s goals in regulation, while Vinny Lecavalier put the Preds away in the shootout. The Flyers’ offense continues to languish toward the bottom of the league, their 2.15 goals per game good for 27th.

Mason is holding down the fort for now though—not to mention building his case for a contract extension. The Flyers are just a couple of points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to his stellar play between the pipes.

Although he wasn't one of this contest's three stars.

>> Mason carries Flyers to shootout win over Preds [CSN]
>> Box Score [Yahoo!]

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Ben Simmons is on track to return to the Sixers in January, Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. 

Previous reports indicated that Simmons, who suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in the Sixers' final training camp scrimmage on Sept. 30, would be out three months. Friday's news jives with that, but this is the first time the Sixers have given a timetable.

"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd (Bayless). Jahlil (Okafor) is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."

With long-term ramifications in mind, there had been some speculation that Simmons' camp wanted him to sit all season. 

This is rather encouraging news and it means the Sixers may avoid watching another of their top picks miss his entire first year.

Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

USA Today Images

Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

Playoff soccer is returning to Chester for the first time in five years, and while fans prep for the Union’s first postseason games since 2011, there is no shortage of seating options for Union tickets on the primary market.

Perhaps most importantly, fans won’t have to break the bank to be on hand as the Union compete for their first MLS Cup in franchise history. Union field level seats are available for both the team’s final home regular season game against the New York Red Bulls and the Eastern Conference Semifinal on October 30 should they advance past the knockout round.

The team’s official website lists feet-on-the-pitch seating starting from $155 per ticket for this weekend’s game against the Red Bulls. The first-place Red Bulls head to Talen Energy Stadium with a first-round bye secured, but Union head coach Jim Curtin expects them to bring the pressure with them on Sunday. Fans can look on up close – and for relatively cheap - as the Union look to hand the Eastern Conference leaders their final loss of the regular season.

The Union will take on either New York City FC or Toronto FC in the knockout round either next Wednesday or Thursday. Pending a victory on the road, they’ll return to Talen Energy Stadium to host an Eastern Conference Semifinal game on October 30. Field level seating is still widely available for the team’s first home playoff game since 2011 and start from $178 per ticket.

2016 marks the franchise’s second MLS Cup Playoffs berth in its seven-year existence. They clinched a first-round bye in 2011 but fell to the Houston Dynamo by a 3-1 aggregate in the Conference Semifinals. The Union bring a much different vibe into the playoffs this season, however, after a formidable stretch from September on nearly drowned their postseason hopes. The team won its last game on August 27 against Sporting Kansas City, losing four games and drawing in two others since. 

Despite the team’s recent struggles, there is a sense of renewment that will carry them into the MLS Cup Playoffs. Records are cast aside and the slate is wiped clean, beginning a new path on the long and often tumultuous road to a national championship.