After last night's performance, Steve Mason proved to be a liar. Sort of.
After yesterday's morning skate, in an interview, Steve Mason "admitted" that he was in no way fatigued — this was a result of him being named the starter for the 22nd time in 24 games. Well, after last night's game 5-2 loss, that proved to be exactly the opposite. Facing 27 shots and stopping 22 while posting a .852 save percentage is not where the Flyers want Mason. Especially considering the first two Rangers' goals went five-hole and could have easily been stopped. The third Rangers goal should have never happened considering Mase was being screened by his own defender; that's right, Radko Gudas was posted directly in front of Mason. Then again, it was a beautiful feed from Miller (Rangers) to Grabner (Rangers) to put the Rangers up.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Not only was the fifth straight loss for the Flyers a poor performance by Mason, it was also a poor performance by a good majority of the team. The defense was a complete train wreck. And once again, the offense could not muster together shots that were finding the back of the net .It's not like the Flyers were not shooting, they launched a total of 32 on Lundqvist, who stopped 30 of them, the only two that were buried came late in the third period off of Voracek's stick. Something that I still cannot seem to wrap my head around is some of the decisions made by coach Dave Hakstol. One of the first things, his choice of who plays and who plays with who.
These are the offensive line rushes that Hak put together last night as well as when he tends to go with on occasion. First of all, demote Schenn to the third line, bring Couturier up to play with Konecny and Simmonds. Scratch Weise and put Cousins in at 3C with Schenn at the wing. Lyubimov was not active to play because of cap space complications with Mark Alt who was activated and brought up at some point this past week. But if Lyubimov was active throw him in place of Gordon (this was the original plan until the cap space issue). Now comes the real question and issue, why is VandeVelde playing every game and why is Bellmare playing every game? I understand the Hextall does not like to rush the development of prospects but come on. The same issue can be seen on defense with Andrew MacDonald playing nearly every game. I'm not saying Nick Shultz is any better or worse than AMac but mix things up.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Moving forward, the Flyers play back to back games this weekend. Saturday at home against the Lighting and Sunday on the road against the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets. It is highly likely that Neuvirth gets the nod at least once. Considering how much Mason has played and how fatigued he looks on the ice.