By no stretch have the Flyers’ goaltending woes been solved, but Petr Mrazek came up with his second consecutive strong game during the 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Boston Bruins on Sunday.
Mrazek has been inconsistent since being acquired on Feb. 19 from the Detroit Red Wings. In 16 games, including 14 starts, he has a 3.09 goals against average and .893 save percentage.
During two of the previous four games before Sunday, he was pulled. But his last two could be performances to build on. In a 2-1 win Wednesday at Colorado, Mrazek replaced an injured Michal Neuvirth and made 17 saves without allowing a goal.
Against Boston, he made 36 saves, and one could argue that he couldn’t really be blamed for the three goals surrendered.
The performance came against a Bruins team that has 110 points and is a top Stanley Cup contender.
“It’s always important when a team like Boston is coming into town,” Mrazek said after the win. “You are fighting for a playoff spot and a game like that is really important for all of us. I think we could see it like a playoff game. Really tight. One goal different.”
Whether Mrazek is the No. 1 goalie for the postseason remains to be seen. Brian Elliott, who has been out since the second week of February with a core muscle injury, participated in full practice on Saturday.
Neuvirth is listed as day-to-day after leaving Wednesday’s game.
The 26-year-old Mrazek might have made the save of the year, at least for the Flyers, on Sunday. It came during the first period against David Pastranak
Shooting from deep inside the right circle, Pastranak was stoned by Mrazek, who made a spectacular glove save.
“It’s always happy for the goaltender if you make a good save,” Mrazek said. “I saw the puck come in to him. I tried to push as hard as I could and get there. I think it’s a lucky save.”
It’s better sometimes to be lucky than good. The Flyers would like one goalie to step up and be both.
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) April 1, 2018
Against Boston, the Flyers appeared headed for a win in regulation, but the Bruins scored with 3.8 seconds left on Patrice Bergeron’s shot from the slot after the Flyers failed to clear the puck out of the zone.
“Those situations, sometimes it happens,” Mrazek said. “We all know we want to play it out of the zone. We had a chance to play it out. That is what hockey is. I am sure we are going to learn from that. We finished it.”
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Mrazek’s effort against the Bruins can’t be understated.
“We had a great performance out of him when he came in the second half of the game against Colorado and carried that into today,” Hakstol said.
All the talk reverted to that first glove save against Pastranak. The Flyers scored the first goal of the game 7 seconds later, by Claude Giroux.
“You can go back to the first goal that we scored, the save he made a few seconds before that, giving us the opportunity to get down the ice and get off to a 1-0 lead rather than have to dig out of a hole,” Hakstol said. “I thought he had two or three of those moments tonight and that was huge for our hockey team.”
More efforts like the last two could give Mrazek the edge for playing time if the Flyers as expected reach the postseason.