Flyers goalie Steve Mason showing promise

Flyers goalie Steve Mason , celebrating a win with Ilya Bryzgalov (right), has thrived since arriving from Columbus.    YONG KIM /Staff       Photographer
Flyers goalie Steve Mason , celebrating a win with Ilya Bryzgalov (right), has thrived since arriving from Columbus.    YONG KIM /Staff       Photographer
Posted: April 23, 2013

It's only a small sample, but recently acquired goalie Steve Mason has played much better - and has looked more confident - for the Flyers than he did for Columbus this year.

His Blue Jackets numbers: 2.95 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 13 games.

His Flyers numbers: 2.09 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in five games.

"There's a lot of work to be done, but I'm definitely happy with the way I'm feeling about my game right now," Mason, 24, said the other day. "I'm just trying to take it a day at a time, and make sure when I do have the opportunity, to work with the goaltender coach and take everything in."

Goalie coach Jeff Reese has made some adjustments in Mason's game.

"Off the rush, I'm not taking as much depth outside of my crease," Mason said. "I'm just trying to stay back and stay patient and utilize the size I have. At 6-foot-4, I don't need to be playing outside the crease. I can stay back and give myself every opportunity to get across the other side of the crease in case there's a cross-ice pass. When you're able to get back and get set and wait for a shot, it makes it a lot easier to make the save."

Mason is happy to be out of Columbus and thrilled to be playing in a market where the team sells out all of its home games.

"As hockey players, you thrive to play in an intense environment, and that's exactly what we have here in Philadelphia," he said. "The fans are passionate about their sport, and as players here we just want to have a partnership with the fans. There are going to be ups and downs, but we want to do everything we can to win each night."

Mason and Ilya Bryzgalov have alternated starts over the last eight games. If that trend continues, Bryzgalov will face Jaromir Jagr and the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, and Mason will start against the visiting New York Islanders on Thursday.

"I'm just trying to continue on what I've started to build here - working on my depth off the rush, just simplifying things in-zone, and making sure when passes are made, I'm beating the pass to the new location and getting there set and ready for the shot," Mason said. "So far, we're having really good success with it. There's going to be times when pucks go in, but you just stick with the course and not get affected by that. I'm just really enjoying being here so far."

Mason recently signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal for next season.

"I'm playing more here than I did in Columbus, so I can't complain at all," he said. "The games that I'm not playing give me extra time in practice to start really becoming comfortable with the things we have been working on."

Aid for Boston

When the Flyers host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the organization will donate the money collected in the Flyers Charities 50/50 raffle that night to onefundboston.org. The players will wear Boston Strong patches on their uniforms and stickers on their helmets.

Throughout the game, there will be other tributes, including recognition of Temple podiatry students who were on site at the Boston Marathon lending their services.

After the game, every player's jersey will be available for auction, with proceeds also benefiting onefundboston.org.

Breakaways

Sean Couturier, who has had a disappointing second season, is finishing strongly; he has three points in his last four games. . . . Rookie defenseman Brandon Manning had four hits and was plus-three in Saturday's 5-3 win in Carolina. . . . With the Flyers eliminated from the playoffs, they will give the Kings a fourth-round draft pick June 30 from the Simon Gagne trade. It would have been a third-rounder had they made the playoffs. . . . Kimmo Timonen entered Sunday fourth among NHL defensemen with 29 points, three points behind Minnesota's Ryan Suter.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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