Mason bounces back with strong effort vs. Caps

Mason bounces back with strong effort vs. Caps

The Flyers get a much-needed win over the Capitals

December 18, 2013, 10:15 am
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Steve Mason made 24 saves in the Flyers' 5-2 win over the Capitals on Tuesday. (USA Today Images)

In the grand scheme of things -- the hit on Brayden Schenn (see video); the Flyers scoring twice on the ensuing five-minute power play -- it probably gets overlooked on the highlight video.

Yet make no mistake about it, Steve Mason had a couple critical saves early into Tuesday’s game against the Capitals that could very easily had gone the other way and affected the outcome of the game.

In a two-second span, he made a stop on Caps defenseman Mike Green from the point, and then on Nick Backstrom’s rebound near the midway mark of the first period, then a remarkable save on Marcus Johansson’s turnaround shot from five feet soon after to keep it a scoreless game.

Two of those goals go in and it’s unlikely the Flyers win 5-2. Which they did (see story).

“Right there in the slot?” Mason asked. “Yeah, they were good scoring chances. Stops like that need to be made in order to win hockey games.

“At that moment in the hockey game, it was scoreless and I needed to make a timely save. Your team needs to see that. It shows them you are ready to go.”

It’s been a rough go for Mason and backup Ray Emery, of late. In the Flyers' previous four road games, both of them had yielded no less than four goals in regulation.

Mason himself gave up four Sunday in Washington (shootout loss) and four in both Dallas (loss) and Ottawa (shootout loss).

He said he felt the three saves he made against Washington in that first period was critical to his confidence.

“Those are saves earlier in the season, you are making non-stop,” Mason said. “The last few games, those might have been deflected or I just might have let it. It’s nice to be able to come up with a big save like that.”

Mason finished this game with 24 saves. He had one miscue -- an elusive rebound from Backstrom on a Caps power play in the second period where he reached out to glove the puck on the ice, missed getting it cleanly, and Alex Ovechkin scooped up for a 1-0 lead.

“I was knocking the puck toward my glove,” said Mason, who catches righthanded. “It hit a bump there and got up on its end. I couldn’t get a clean glove on it. I put it right onto Ovechkin’s tape there.”

Washington scored twice that period sandwiched around a goal from Jakub Voracek to take a 2-1 lead.

“There were not a lot of shots on my end,” Mason said. “When you have two quick goals go by in the first two shots it just becomes a mental test from there on, just to make sure that your stopping the next one and build off the following saves.

“There were a couple quick goals there, but they guys really responded and that’s what we need.”

Bottom line: Mason was stellar when the Flyers needed him to be.

“He did a good job early on there,” said coach Craig Berube. “He had some key saves which is huge. That’s what goaltending is about, timely saves and he did that tonight, he was good.”