The next few starts for Philadelphia Flyers goaltender will show the front office and the fans his true value to this team.
Steve Mason’s cumulative stats this season are as follows:
11-9-3, 2.29 goals against average, .927 save percentage.
Mason has been the Flyers’ most valuable player and greatest asset this season. He has kept the orange and black from sinking into the cellar of the Eastern Conference. This may sound surprising, but the rough road trip for Mason may have been the best thing to happen to him this season.
During the six game road trip, Mason started out strong against the Nashville Predators. He made 34 saves and stole the Flyers a win in the shootout. The next few games the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators roughed him up.
Against the Red Wings and Stars, the defense hung him out to dry, and he gave up seven goals in those two starts. In Ottawa, Mason did not look his best. He gave up four goals and the Flyers lost in the shootout. Over the course of those three games, Mason compiled 1-1-1 record with a 3.66 goals against average and an .884 save percentage.
That string of games was the first time Mason had given up more than three goals in consecutive games.
Every goaltender in the National Hockey League has faced adversity. What separates the good from the great is how the goaltender responds. Does he allow previous games to affect his play? Do these performances force him to overdo or over think? Or does he shake off the last few starts and not let it affect his confidence. Mason took a step in the right direction Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. He made 20 saves and was 55 seconds away from his second shutout of the season before the Canadiens scored. The Flyers ended up wining the game 2-1.
Sunday afternoon’s game against the Washington Capitals is another opportunity for Mason. Should he put together another impressive start, it puts more faith in the fan base and the front office that he could be the goalie of the future.