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Mason insists recent struggles haven’t sapped confidence

Dec 21, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason cannot block a goal by Columbus Blue Jackets' Cam Atkinson during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

The Philadelphia Flyers offense seems to have woken up just in time for goaltender Steve Mason to go cold. He’s allowed 10 goals in his last three starts and has a 3.23 GAA and .890 save percentage in eight contests this month.

“Last month I had an extremely sharp game and it hasn’t been sharp in recent games and we’ve gone over a lot of video and (goalie coach Jeff Reeese) has reinforced it’s still a very simple game,” Mason told CSN Philly.

It’s not unusual for a good goaltender to have a bad month, but with Mason every rough patch is a source of dread. Although he’s been great with the Philadelphia Flyers, he’s still not that far removed from his years of struggles with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mason insists his confidence hasn’t suffered and he’s still gotten at least a point out of each of his last five starts.

“There’s no panic going on,” Reeese said. “We want to get him back to being consistent. That’s what we are looking for.”

Ray Emery will play between the pipes against the Blue Jackets tonight while Mason is expected to start on Monday versus Minnesota.

  1. lowenni - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I don’t think he’s as great a goaltender as he was made out to be this season. Philly’s defense has tightened up this season and I think that improved his stats, but I don’t think he’s going to be playing crazy good games like he was early this season too often. He’s better than his recent games show, but he can be shaky at times (evidenced by his post-Calder years in Colombus) and is flappable. He’s a starter-quality goalie now, but I don’t think he’s a top-10 goalie or Vezina-candidate like people were saying.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Overall the Flyers D is better than recent years but if you look at some of his recent games you’d see that his struggles can be mostly attributed to blown defensive assignments. I’ll admit that early on he was stopping the puck no matter what his D did but still he’s human. Take Thursdays game for example, the first two goals were off 2 on 1 breakaways. The third goal was a blatant blown assignment in which Foligno was wide open in front. And the 4th goal was one where all 5 Flyers stopped skating bc they thought the puck went out, leaving Comeau open at point blank range. Tuesday, Mason was solid in a 5-2 win over the Caps. Sunday, he gave up some bad goals but the team also stopped playing with a 4-1 lead. He had no help. And then last week he was 50 seconds away from a shutout in a 2-1 win over a good Habs team.

      Mason was amazing for the first two months but it’s wrong to expect that play over a full season. He needs the guys in front of him to do their jobs and I’m still confident he’ll then do his. It would also help if Emery was a little more consistent so Mason could have a few nights off.

    • lowenni - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      I agree with everything you said, I still think he’s a good goalie and better than his years in Columbus (and past few games) have shown. Just don’t think he’s top-10, Vezina-caliber like a lot of people were saying earlier this season.

  2. crazemastercraze - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I wouldn’t worry Steve. Flyers management will still give you an multi year enormous contract

  3. phillyphannnn83 - Dec 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    So who exactly was saying Mason was a Vezina candidate? First time I ever heard that. Everything I heard was that his Calder season was an aberration and he’s just Bryz 2.0

  4. ironman721 - Dec 22, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    He just needs to get hot come playoff time and nobody will care about December hockey.

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