The Flyers have been pretty awful, but least the goaltending isn't the problem

The Flyers have been pretty awful, but least the goaltending isn't the problem
October 21, 2013, 9:00 am
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Ed note: Greg Paone is a decent guy and may or may not be writing about some Flyers stuff here moving forward. Greg writes ...

During my near quarter-century as a native Philadelphian, I’ve pretty much nailed these few things down as my birthrights:  the term “yous” is proper English, you’re not doing it right if you’re not jaywalking, the Roxborough Roll/South Philly Slide is a perfectly legal form of stopping at a stop sign, and it’s always the goaltender’s fault when things go south for the Flyers.

While the first three things on that list will always be true -- at least in my book -- the last one hasn't been for the Flyers this season. Not thus far.

The Flyers’ 1-7 start isn’t on the shoulders of goaltender Steve Mason. In fact, the story is actually quite the opposite.

Mason has been superb in the six games he’s started this season. The Oakville, Ontario native is sporting a solid .923 save percentage and an excellent 2.37 goals-against average. He’s given up just 14 goals on 183 shots against in his six starts, yet his record stands at 1-5.

Ilya Bryzgalov is smiling approvingly from somewhere on the Las Vegas Strip.

But think about Mason’s numbers this season for a second.

The guy is basically giving up just two goals a game. In today’s offense-friendly NHL, two goals against per game should mean more than one win.

But that’s how unfathomably bad the Flyers' offense, which has scored a league-low 11 goals so far, has been through eight games.

There’s also the whole defensive-breakdown-in-front-of-the-net thing where the opponent is left wide open in front of the Flyers’ net, but we’ve grown accustomed to that over the past few seasons. That’s nothing new.

It’s a shame because Mason’s return to his 2008-2009 rookie-of-the-year form has been one of the only fun things to watch with the Flyers this season. (It might be the only.) Mason has kept the Flyers in games they’ve had no business being in.

The most recent example was this past Thursday against the visiting Penguins.

At one point late in the second period, the Flyers were being outshot, 29-10, but trailed just 2-0 and were in the game because Mason was standing on his head. With the defense the Flyers were playing, it’s totally plausible the Penguins could have been up 7-0 instead.

Mason should be used to that predicament by now, though.

What do you know? The year the Flyers may finally have a legitimate goalie, they can’t shoot the puck into the ocean.

The hockey gods are so cruel.

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