Steve Mason made 25 saves in the Flyers' 5-4 win over the Blue Jackets. (USA Today Images)
It’s pretty safe to say that on more than one occasion in his young NHL career, Steve Mason was on the short end of the kind of game that unfolded Thursday night.
When he played for Columbus.
A game in which he had a comfortable third-period lead and then ended up losing.
Things are different as a Flyer.
Playing against his former team for the first time since being traded to the Flyers last April, Mason saw the Flyers roar back from a 3-0 deficit with five third-period goals and win, 5-4 (see story).
“Yeah, it was not exactly how I drew it up on the board, but you know sometimes your team comes through for you and that feels great,” said Mason, who had 25 saves and got bailed out big time by teammates.
“With the guys on our team, it’s possible,” he said of the Flyers' incredible third-period comeback.
“You know we didn’t have a great second period," Mason added. "But you know they came out and had one hell of a third period. Made this night pretty special.
“It’s a difficult game for a goaltender to be a part of something like that, you know with the goals going in, but there’s nights like these that come along every so often where your team bails you out and … big win.”
In so many ways. First, he had the jitters of playing his former team. That’s out of the way. Second, you had the Flyers going over .500 for the first time this season.
And biggest of all, the Flyers are sitting in a playoff spot for the first time at third place in the Metropolitan Division.
It’s something Craig Berube’s club can build upon.
“Absolutely,” Mason said. “You know it puts you possibly back in the playoffs right now. Divisional point who we play quite a few times throughout the season. One right there on Saturday for another big game [in Columbus].
“You know this is a four-point night technically, and the guys worked extremely hard in that third period that we got the two points and from the defensemen all the way to the forwards they earned the two points.”
Thing is, Mason wasn’t particularly sharp in goal, either. This is the fourth time in his last six starts he’s given up four goals.
Blake Comeau’s weak goal in the third period made it a 4-2 Blue Jackets lead and took the air right out of the Flyers’ sails for a few short minutes.
And then … the Flyers scored three times in the final five minutes to win the game on goals from Erik Gustafsson and two from Claude Giroux.
“Let’s see, we came out and got two big goals and then they came out with the fourth one [Comeau],” Mason said. “The boys just kept going at them and we were able to come away with a big victory.
“To score that many goals in one period is difficult to do no matter who you’re playing against, but the guys made sure that this is a special night.”
It’s only fair his teammates bail him out once in a while given how many times Mason has done it for them this season.
And especially to win this game for Mason, which meant so much because it was his former club and first meeting against them.
“It feels unbelievable,” Mason said. “You know, went around the room and thanked everybody, G [Giroux] said you don’t have to be the one winning us games.
“So it was nice to be in this position where against my old team they came through and got me the two points, and this is from a team’s standpoint a real big victory.”
In so many ways.