We’re officially a week into the 2013/14 NHL playoffs and we’ve already seen our share of overtime dramatics, borderline hits, curious officiating, and Pierre McGuire. While every series has seen at least 3 games played, now is a good time to check in on what we’ve learned through week 1 of the dance and what we should expect over the next week.
Henrik Lundqvist wasn't the only person standing in the way of the Flyers on Tuesday.
The New York Rangers goaltender had an entire team jumping in front of pucks, helping the Swedish netminder stop the Flyers' constant barrage of shots. It resulted in a 4-1 win for the Rangers and a 2-1 series lead.
The two teams will face off in Game 4 on Friday in Philadelphia. And if the Flyers want some type of good news heading into that game, it looks like Steve Mason will be starting.
(Photo: Henrik Lundqvist makes a first period save on Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds while Rangers D Dan Girardi looks on. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Steve Mason practiced today at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
A day after the Flyers lost 4-1 to the Rangers in Game 1, Mason was on the ice in hopes to play in Game 2. When asked if he would be ready, he told reporters, “I’ll try my best.”
Mason's willingness to play in Game 2 isn't a reflection of how Ray Emery played in Game 1. With the Flyers out-shot 36-15 in the game, Emery's 32 saves were a testament to how well he played in spite of poor showing by the Flyers and a poorly-timed double minor by a rookie.
By virtue of finishing third place in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers have drawn the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers and Rangers split their season series, with both teams winning twice on home ice.
If you go back into the early episodes of the TCL Flyers podcast, you'll hear me proclaim Ray Emery as the Flyers' starting goaltender in 2013-14. Why? He had shown an ability to be competitive after suffering avascular necrosis in 2010. He also proved to be a valuable backup on a juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks team that won hockey's greatest prize.
Steve Mason, that other guy, played well during his seven-game tryout at the 2013 season's conclusion. Prior to that, I, and many others, fell into the trap of thinking of Mason as the sad sack goalie from The Buckeye State with undersized pads who produced a record fit for the NHL's version of a discard pile.
The Flyers found out who their first round opponent in the playoffs will be.
The Flyers beat the Penguins 4-3 in overtime, clinching third place in the Metropolitan Division. It will set up a first round series with the New York Rangers, who the Flyers have had a poor track record with this season.
Tuukka Rask is good at getting in the way of things.
The Flyers were on the verge of another third period comeback, but it was Rask who stood in their way. He also stood in the way of 49 shots, leading the Bruins to a 4-3 shootout win at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
Rask proved why Boston gave him an extension in the offseason. Rask was also the reason Boston skated away with two points.
He fought off an Flyers onslaught in the third period. Philadelphia out-shot Boston 52-30 on the game, including 17-6 in the third period and 8-1 in overtime.
(Photo: Boston goalie Tuukka Rask stops Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek in the shootout. AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
With Claude Giroux’s MVP like performance, Steve Mason’s impressive play in net, the domination of Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier’s consistent maturity, it has been hard to think of anything negative about this Flyers team.
And why would you want to?
But unfortunately Jakub Voracek had a rather rough performance immediately after the Olympics which seemed to be a carryover of his inconsistent play through January. With just six goals in January and the very beginning of February and three goals after the Olympic break up until last Saturday, it is clear that Voracek has had his struggles.
The Flyers continue their hot streak against some of the NHL's top contenders, a run that has come to a surprise.
Despite facing a barrage of shots, the Flyers penalty kill and Steve Mason hold off the St. Louis Blues, 4-1, in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. It was the fifth straight win for the Flyers, who are 12-2-1 since Feb. 1.
“We’ve proven that we’re a good hockey team," Mason told reporters. "We’re beating teams that come playoff time you’re going to have to go through to the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup. Guys are gaining confidence from this so it’s a good sign.”