Flyers Storylines: Mason continues to turn heads

Flyers Storylines: Mason continues to turn heads

Morganti on Mason: 'He was terrific throughout'

December 1, 2013, 2:00 pm
Share This Post

Steve Mason is 9-8-2 with a .934 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against average this season. (AP)

Next stop: St. Paul, Minn.

The Flyers kicked off a six-game road trip on Saturday and were fortunate to escape Nashville with a 3-2 shootout win over the Predators (see story).

It wasn't the sharpest of victories, but the Flyers set the tone for their trip after they overcame some undisciplined play to get back to .500 in the standings.

Things aren't going to get any easier for the orange and black, either. They'll continue their cross-country tour against three tough opponents this week, beginning with the Wild on Monday.

With that in mind, here are a few storylines we'll be keeping an eye on:

In Mason we trust
There's no arguing who has been the Flyers' MVP this season. Steve Mason continued his tremendous play this season with a 34-save performance against the Predators.

“He did a great job once again,” Sean Couturier said after the game. “Since the start of the year he’s been unbelievable. He’s making key saves at the right time and he’s keeping us in games when we’re not playing out best. He’s our best player for sure.”

Mason made one of those key saves Couturier was talking about in the second round of the shootout on Matt Hendricks. Hendricks got Mason to bite on his first deke, but Mason rebounded and made an eye-popping stop on the Predators' center. 

With the win, Mason, who has consistently given the Flyers a chance to win all season, improved his record to 9-8-2. His .934 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against average are among the league's best. It'd be hard to imagine where the Flyers would be without the netminder.

Mason's presence is starting to cause a stir around the NHL and some think he should be considered an option in net for Team Canada in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Let's not forgot the 25-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end. He's certainly lining himself up for a nice payday.

Where's Jake?
Jakub Voracek was a forced to be reckoned with last season. He scored a career-high 22 goals en route to his first Bobby Clarke Trophy, awarded to the Flyers' most valuable player, and finished second on the team in scoring behind Claude Giroux.

But this season, the 24-year-old winger has struggled to find the back of the net. He has just three goals -- two of which came in a 5-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 12 -- and is currently in the midst of nine-game goalless drought.

The Flyers have been getting some solid production from the second and third lines during that stretch, but they need Voracek -- especially on this road trip -- and the top line to turn it up a notch offensively moving forward.

Turning a corner
It seems the Flyers are putting their penalty killing woes behind them.

Over the past three games, the Flyers have surrendered just one goal in 15 shorthanded situations. In fact, they've killed off 12 straight dating back to the Tampa game.

Head coach Craig Berube probably isn't thrilled that his team has averaged five minor penalties a game over the past three, but he has to be pleased with the play of his PK units.

Players to watch
Minnesota: The Flyers won't be happy to see Zach Parise when they take on the Wild on Monday. Parise lit up the orange and black for 18 goals and 18 assists in 40 games while he was a member of the New Jersey Devils. The speedy forward leads Minnesota with 23 points this season.

Detroit: Since Pavel Datsyuk's status for Wednesday is unclear (head injury), let's take a look at Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings' captain has been terrific this season, leading the team with 30 points. Shutting down Zetterberg has proved to be a difficult task for the Flyers. He's collected nine goals and seven assists in 10 games against them.

Dallas: Tyler Seguin had his troubles -- on and off the ice -- as a member of the Boston Bruins. A change in scenary, however, has done wonders for the young center. Seguin has clicked with his new club, registering 12 goals and 11 assists through 24 games. The Flyers will see him and the rest of the Stars on Saturday.