Flyers' Steve Mason returns, expected to face Hurricanes

Flyers Devils Hockey
Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) is helped off the ice during the third period against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Newark, N.J.

Flyers goalie Steve Mason is fully recovered from leg spasms that forced him out of Thursday’s loss in New Jersey, and he is ready if he gets the call Sunday night against Carolina at the Wells Fargo Center.

Mason is expected to start for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

With 18 minutes, 27 seconds left Thursday, Mason was injured as he tried unsuccessfully to stop Taylor Hall’s lunging, one-handed shot on a breakaway. The goal gave the Devils a 4-2 lead in an eventual 6-2 win.

“I couldn’t bend my leg after that goal,” Mason said. “I always struggle with cramping. I sweat a ton and put as much fluid as I can in my body, but sometimes you just can’t keep up with it.”

Mason said he felt fine after having an IV following the game.

The Flyers played listlessly against New Jersey, one night after Mason and his teammates blanked the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0.

“The consistency is something we obviously need to address,” Mason said after Saturday’s practice in Voorhees. “We can’t go from having one of our best games all year against Pittsburgh and then come around the next night against Jersey with that kind of outcome and overall team game. It’s something we continually seem to talk about. That’s what makes good teams; that’s what separates them is the consistency on any given night _ what kind of effort everybody is going to have.”

When you play back-to-back games, “you have to find ways to be mentally sharp,” said Mason, now 20-20-7 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. “Sometimes your body’s not always going to be there (at 100 percent), but if you can be sharp mentally, that sometimes can help you out.”

The Flyers entered Saturday six points out of the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot with 12 games left. They have to pass four teams to get into the playoffs.

“We haven’t done ourselves any favors here recently,” Mason said.

The Flyers are just 13-20-5 since their 10-game winning streak ended in December.

“There are going to be lapses,’’ right winger Jake Voracek said. “You have to make sure as a player that they don’t happen very often. Maybe 10 games out of 82, not 25. That’s the difference between winning and losing.’’

 Voracek said the team had no energy against the Devils.

“We didn’t have that jump, which is weird because obviously it’s desperation mode right now,” he said. “But sometimes you can’t do anything about it. You try to push and you just can’t. I think that was the problem; we were really tired. You could tell from the first shift. On the other hand, if you’re tired and you don’t play your best, you have to adjust to the game.”

Breakaways. The Flyers are 2-1 against the Hurricanes this season, losing the last meeting, 5-1, in Carolina on Jan. 31 as rookie Sebastian Aho notched a hat trick and added an assist…. Coach Dave Hakstol, who will stay with the same lines Sunday that he used in New Jersey, said the day off Friday refreshed the Flyers and called it a “great practice” Saturday…. Carolina will be playing on consecutive nights….Injured winger Nick Cousins was unable to practice…..Defenseman Brandon Manning appears ready to return to the lineup after missing three games with an unspecified injury.

Continue Reading