In a somewhat surprising decision, Flyers coach coach Peter Laviolette is giving goalie Ilya Bryzgalov the start Thursday night against New Jersey, bypassing the sizzling Steve Mason.
"Both of our goaltenders have played really well lately, I think," Laviolette said when asked if it was a difficult decision to skip Mason.
The Flyers host the sagging Devils at 7:30 p.m. New Jersey has lost 10 straight (0-6-4).
In four games (three starts) with the Flyers, Mason has a 1.82 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
Mason, who made 38 saves in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Rangers, was disappointed not to get the start, but understood.
"Every goalie wants to play every game, but this is a great opportunity for me to work on some things with Reeser," he said, referring to goalie coach Jeff Reese. "Every day, I'm just excited to be here."
After winning the rookie-of-the-year award in 2008-09, Mason struggled in the last four seasons with Columbus before being traded to the Flyers recently. In a small sample, he has looked rejuvenated after making some adjustments with Reese.
All told, Mason is 4-8-1 with a 2.70 GAA and .908 save percentage this year.
Bryzgalov is 18-16-3 with a 2.86 GAA and .897 save percentage. He will oppose the Devils' Martin Brodeur, who is 10-8-7 with a 2.25 GAA and .901 save percentage.
New Jersey has been shut out in its last two losses _ and three times in the last six games.
Gagne wants to stay. Veteran winger Simon Gagne said he would like to finish his career with the Flyers. The next move is GM Paul Holmgren's.
Breakaways. It appears Mike Knuble will replace Jay Rosehill on the Flyers' fourth line Thursday night......Luke Schenn has played 56:30 over the last two games, including 32:51 against Montreal _ the most for any Flyer in regulation since Eric Desjardins played 33:14 in a 2001 game....Claude Giroux is fifth in the league with 21 power-play points.....Jake Voracek has a career-high 19 goals, and he is tied for third in the NHL with eight power-play tallies......D-man Erik Gustafsson is playing his best hockey in his two years with the Flyers, Laviolette said. In his last three games, he has played 24:21, 24:35 and 23:15, respectively.....New Jersey will be missing high-scoring forward Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) and defenseman Bryce Salvador (wrist)....The Devils are coming off a 2-0 loss to Toronto, a game in which they outshot the Maple Leafs, 32-13.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.