Should Ray Emery or Steve Mason start Game 3 for the Flyers?

Should Ray Emery or Steve Mason start Game 3 for the Flyers?
April 21, 2014, 8:30 am
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Did Ray Emery inadvertently start a goaltender controversy with his standout performance in the Philadelphia Flyers’ Game 2 victory over the New York Rangers? It seems he might have.

Not long after the final horn sounded on the 4-2 win, the Flyers Postgame Live panel and especially former NHL player and head coach Rick Tocchet were expounding upon the virtues of sticking with Emery in net. Emery, of course, is only playing in the first place because of the upper-body injury Steve Mason sustained in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Tocchet went so far as to suggest the guys in the dressing room could feel the same way about who should get the call. Moments later, Claude Giroux was holding court with reporters, heaping praise on Emery, admitting the Flyers couldn’t have won without him.

Difficult to argue with the captain on that one. After falling behind 2-0 in the opening nine minutes, Emery slammed the door shut on the Rangers for the final 51. He stopped 31 shots in all, including 17 in the second period alone. His anticipation was almost otherworldly.

Up until Sunday, there was absolutely zero debate over who should be between the pipes for the Flyers for the playoffs. It’s been Mason all the way. Does one game really change that?

Head coach Craig Berube ducked the question.

Perhaps it’s a moot point. Mason wasn’t ready to play in Games 1 and 2, and for all we know, might not be any closer before the next meeting on Tuesday.

Assuming Mason were healthy though, who should get the call? Sure, Emery looked great, and he wasn’t the reason the orange and black dropped the first game, either. But statistically, Mason gives Philadelphia the best shot. He’s six years younger and a better puck-handler as well.

Either decision has the potential to open a different can of worms.

If Berube does go with Mason, and he looks shell-shocked in his return, do the Flyers quickly go back to Emery in Game 4?

If Berube sticks with Emery, and he continues to play well, is he the goaltender for the remainder of the playoffs no matter what?

It's a delicate situation to say the least. How Berube decides to handle it is easily the biggest challenge of his coaching tenure to date. Flyers fans can only hope he gets it right.

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