In a bit of a surprise, the Flyers announced that goalie Steve Mason will start Wednesday's opener against the visiting Maple Leafs.

Ray Emery, 31, who went 17-1 with Chicago last season, will be tonight's backup.

"We had to have a starting point here," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Steve came in last year and really played terrific for us."

Mason, 25, was superb in a seven-game stint (1.90 GAA) with the Flyers last season. He struggled this preseason, compiling a 3.67 GAA and .859 save percentage. Mason played only one of his three preseason games with the regulars on defense.

Laviolette is giving Mason the start "just based on what Steve did at the end of last year and the way he came into camp in shape. You could make a case for either one, but we had to start somewhere and we just decided to go with Steve. He's had a great camp and is ready to go."

Emery, playing mostly with regulars in front of him, had a 3.30 GAA and .873 save percentage in the preseason.

"We will evaluate things as they go on, but both goaltenders will play" a significant amount of time this season, Laviolette said.

Emery took the news that he was tonight's backup in stride.

"There's a lot of games, and you're going to get  a chance to play," he said. "I'm just preparing  to be at my best when I get the chance."

Mason was not available. The Flyers do not allow the starting goalie to talk to the media at the morning skate.

Mason's and Emery's teammates said it didn't matter who got the start.

"They're both really good golatenders and we're lucky to have them both," center Vinny Lecavalier said.

"Both are similar. They're big and move well, they handle the puck well, they go out and stop it, which helps the D a lot," defenseman Mark Streit said. "They have similar tendencies and they're on the same page as far as playing the puck."

For what it's worth, 40 years ago, the Flyers opened the season with a 2-0 home win over Toronto. Bernie Parent notched the shutout en route to the Flyers' first Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday, Toronto got a goal from ex-Flyer James van Riemsdyk as it opened the season with a 4-3 win in Montreal.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier will start Wednesday for the Leafs.

Projected lineup

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the opener:

** Claude Giroux centering Scott Hartnell and Jake Voracek.

** Lecavalier centering Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

** Sean Couturier centering Max Talbot and Matt Read.

** Adam Hall centering Jay Rosehill and Zac Rinaldo.

Expected scratches: Scott Laughton, Hal Gil, Erik Gustafsson.

Defense: Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen; Luke Schenn and Streit; Andrej Meszaros and Nick Grossmann.

For openers....

In their history, the Flyers are 21-17-7 in season openers, including a 15-10-3 mark in seasons that started at home.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.