The team announced that Michal Neuvirth will be out four to six weeks with a lower body injury. Neuvirth was injured during the first period on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild while making a save. He went down to make a save and his left knee bent backward and while the goalie struggled to get up afterwards, he decided to finish out the first period. Mason took over the crease to start the second period. The injury was reported to be a left knee sprain by Tim Panaccio of csnphilly.com.
Neuvirth had been struggling throughout the season. He is 4-2-0 in nine games played this season. He has a 3.54 goals against average and a .859 save percentage, neither of which are good numbers. The goalie has been letting in some soft goals, but has also been left out to dry by the play of the team in front of him. He has allowed three or more goals five times this year and has been pulled twice. There have been times where it has looked like Neuvirth has gotten over his struggles only to have given up a bad goal on the next shot.
The crease will now belong to Mason, who had a strong outing after coming in for Neuvirth on Saturday night. Mason has also struggled at times during the season, and has been inconsistent. He has also let in some cheap goals that should have been saves. The goaltender can now look to get on a roll since the crease now belongs to him. The play in front of the goalies definitely needs to be better, but Mason needs to be sharper and make the easy saves.
The Flyers will likely call up Anthony Stolarz, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms starting goaltender. In eight games played this season in the AHL, Stolarz is 6-2-0, and has only allowed 19 total goals. He has a 2.39 goals against average to go with a .927 save percentage. This will be Stolarz’s chance to show what he can do at the NHL level.
He has been playing well for the Phantoms, and he should get to make his NHL debut this time around. Stolarz was called up towards the end of the season last year when Neuvirth was injured, but he never got the chance to make a start since the Flyers were in the middle of a playoff race. Mason led the Flyers to a playoff spot down the stretch with his stellar play.
If the Flyers want to get back on track and string some wins together then they are going to need the goaltending to step up and lead the way.