If there was a game to define what Steve Mason has been doing for the Flyers this season, Saturday night in the Music City was the night.
Mason stopped 34 shots, including two great saves in the shootout as the Flyers came back to beat the Nashville Predators, 3-2. The win started the Flyers' six-game road trip out on the right foot.
It was Mason's best effort of the season.
Mason's effort was coupled with Sean Couturier's late game-tying goal that forced overtime. His tally with 6 minutes, 54 seconds remaining gave Mason the chance to steal a second point from the Predators.
(Photo: Steve Mason covers the puck as Gabriel Bourque contends with Luke Schenn. Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Just one night after stirring the pot by fighting Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ray Emery stopped 14 shots as the Flyers rebounded with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Emery may not have faced an abundance of shots, but the Flyers goaltender put forth a strong effort on Saturday evening. Emery fought through some tough traffic in front of the net and was absolutely phenomenal for his 15th career shutout and fourth as a Flyer.
The scoring touch has alluded the Flyers early on this season, and was once again absent tonight. Fortunately, they didn't need too much firepower in this game.
The Flyers' week-long break will come to an end this Thursday when they host the Rangers.
While off, the Flyers set to work on a few things. Their powerplay unit, which is 29th in the NHL needed work; the entire team went to the Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday as a bonding experience; and they have a couple players potentially returning from injuries which will create a few decisions.
The start of a new season brings with it countless questions for all 30 teams.
Some questions will be answered right away while others may take all season or even longer. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are no different.
Without further ado, here are five questions facing the Flyers this 2013-14 season.
(There will be pressure on the Flyers forwards to score this season, including a repeat performance from Jakub Voracek [front] and a break out season from Matt Read [back]. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line.)
The Philadelphia Flyers will have quite the balance of experience and youth on their blue line this season.
With players ranging from 23 years-old all the way to 38, the mix of veteran prowess and future promise hopes to be the perfect combination for a turnaround season.
One of the more controversial contracts this year is that of 38-year-old Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen’s one-year, $6 million deal can easily be considered a mistake when given to someone his age, but what Timonen brings to the table every season is irreplaceable. While his game may not be the same as it was three years ago, he can still be argued as the best defenseman in Philadelphia.
(Photo: Kimmo Timonen (front) is the unquestioned leader of the unit whereas Luke Schenn (back) is the future. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
In sports, the phrase "injuries are part of the game" is used quite often. However, the popular phrase took on a whole new meaning for the Philadelphia Flyers during the shortened 2012-2013 regular season.
To put things into perspective, the Flyers lost 264 man games to injury or illness.
Some things were known heading into the season such the fact that defenseman Chris Pronger wouldn't see any action as he recovers from a concussion. The Flyers didn't have quite as much depth at the forward position as they did the season prior.
(Scott Hartnell. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Only five games remain in this lockout-shortened regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers. These five games serve as a tryout period for players to show why they should or shouldn't stay beyond next season. Some players have already been written off, as it may not make much sense to keep for the future.
Many difficult decisions have to be made this summer, including players that have had extended stints as Flyers.
It's going to be a longer off season for the Flyers than they're used to.
Among the topics heading into the off season is the job security of head coach Peter Laviolette. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reassured the safety of his head coach.
Via Sam Carchidi's article this morning:
"I haven't even thought along those lines," Holmgren told The Inquirer in a phone conversation. "I think it's been a difficult year because of the situation. We haven't had our whole team all year. I don't blame the coaches.