Flyer'd Update: Leafs-Flyers
Steve Mason went 4-2 in net late last season with the Flyers. (AP)
Ray Emery started a game. Then Steve Mason did. In the Flyers’ final preseason game last Friday, it was Emery once again.
And so tonight, in the Flyers’ regular-season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center (see game notes), it is Mason who will get the call.
But, according to coach Peter Laviolette, it’s not just because it’s his turn.
“Both goaltenders played well, but we have to have a starting point here,” Laviolette said. “Steve came here at the end of last year, and really played terrific for us. Either one of them could have started, but we had to choose. I think just based on what Steve did at the end of last year, and the way he came into camp in shape, and the way he played through camp -- both goaltenders, you could make a case for either one.
“We had to start somewhere, we just decided to go with Steve. He had a great camp and he’s ready to go.”
Mason, of course, didn’t have a particularly strong preseason, but neither did Emery. The entire Flyers roster -- from goaltender straight up through the forwards -- contributed to their dismal 1-5-1 record.
But ignoring the preseason, the skaters in front of Mason would have been happy no matter who got the nod as opening-night starter.
“Both goalies, we have a lot of confidence in,” Claude Giroux said. “If it’s Mase or Razor (Emery), I think we’re going to be the same team. I think guys weren’t even worried before the game to see who was in net, because we know that we have two good goaltenders behind us.”
Emery was quick to say Mason’s getting the start doesn’t at all create an awkward situation between the two (they’re already used to the Flyers’ goaltender tandem and all that comes with it).
He was, however, a little disappointed.
“Yeah, you always want to play,” Emery said. “There’s a lot of games in the season and you’ll get a chance to play. I’m just excited to get the year started. Like I said, we just want to win for the team.”
And yeah -- while he won’t get the honor of standing between the pipes to kick off the team’s 2013-14 campaign in front of the fans, there’s no doubt Emery will get a fair amount of playing time.
“There’s a lot of games in the season and a lot of back-to-backs,” Emery said. “Both guys get a chance to play and both guys do well.”
Voracek feeling good
Jake Voracek, who missed the Flyers’ final two preseason games, says he’s good to go tonight.
Voracek, who plays on the team’s top line alongside Giroux and Scott Hartnell, injured his back in a preseason game last week against New Jersey. He returned to practice on Monday, however, and all along expected to be fine for the season opener.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I was kind of shooting for at least two, three practices before the game, and that’s exactly what I did, and I’m really excited to be back in the lineup.”
Vinny’s first game
Tonight marks the first time in his career that Vinny Lecavalier will suit up for a regular-season game for a team that isn’t the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I’m definitely really excited, like I would be any opening night,” Lecavalier said. “But especially when it’s your first game with a new team, it’s definitely extra special.”
Fix the mistakes
There’s plenty that contributed to the Flyers’ rough preseason. But as far as what they really need to fix, it comes down to one simple thing, according to the team's captain.
“We’ve just got to be responsible with the puck,” Giroux said. “We can’t let other teams have scoring chances because of us. Obviously there’s a lot of really good players on these other teams, and they’re going to create their own chances, but we can’t help them have chances against our goalies.”
Hall in, Laughton out?
Laviolette never discusses his lineups -- outside of his starting goaltender, that is -- at the pregame skate, but based on who skates, who doesn’t and who skates extra long, it’s possible to make educated guesses about who’s in and who’s out on any given night.
Based on the expected toughness of tonight’s game against the Leafs (see story), it looks like center Adam Hall will anchor the fourth line in place of young Scott Laughton, who will likely watch the game from the press box.