Flyers' Mason out for Game 2

Posted: April 21, 2014

NEW YORK - After an encouraging one-hour workout Friday, Flyers goalie Steve Mason had a setback Saturday and will miss Game 2 of the opening-round playoff series against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Mason, who has been sidelined since suffering an upper-body injury April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, indicated after Friday's workout that his goal was to play in Game 2.

But after participating in a full-team practice Saturday afternoon at the Garden, he said he wasn't ready.

"For the most part I felt pretty solid and I am getting better every day, but I won't play [Sunday]," Mason said.

The Flyers trail the best-of-seven series, one game to none, and have lost nine consecutive games to the Rangers at the Garden.

Toward the end of Saturday's practice, Mason was noticeably laboring.

"Probably the last 10 minutes in practice, what was bothering me wasn't feeling very good," Mason said.

When asked what was bothering him, Mason said, "I can't say that."

Mason talked to coach Craig Berube and general manager Paul Holmgren and it was decided that he wouldn't play. As in Game 1, Mason also won't be available to serve as the backup. Cal Heeter was the backup to Ray Emery in Game 1 and will do the same in Game 2.

Heeter was at Friday's workout with Mason, which included just three other skaters, before traveling to Hershey, Pa., where the Adirondack Phantoms played their final game Saturday. The fact that Heeter returned to the Phantoms is an indication that the Flyers were optimistic after Friday's workout that Mason would be able to play.

Mason said his goal is to play in Game 3 Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I will make that my goal and make sure I get as much rest as possible," Mason said. "I want to make sure when I get back in I am ready to help the team out and not be a liability out there."

Berube wouldn't speculate on Mason's availability for Game 3.

"It is a day-to-day thing," the coach said. "He practiced [Saturday], we are making decisions, and we talked it over and he is not ready."

This season, Mason played in three of the Flyers' four games against the Rangers He was 2-1 with a 2.01 goals-against-average and a .937 save percentage.

Mason had a strong season for the Flyers, going 33-18-7 with a 2.50 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

Now it will again be up to Emery, who had 32 saves in the 4-1 loss to the Rangers on Thursday. The score was tied before the Rangers scored two power-play goals in a 47-second span midway through the third period.

Berube said Emery played well in Game 1.

"I thought he looked good and he looked sharp today in practice," Berube said. "Those third-period goals were power-play goals and there is not much you can do on that. We've got to do a better job."

Praise for Akeson

Berube said he wasn't sure if he would make any lineup changes, but it appears as if he will go with Jason Akeson, whose double-minor for high-sticking led to the two third-period power-play goals in his first playoff game. The penalty aside, Akeson earned high grades from Berube. "I thought he was one of our better forwards; he created opportunities and had chances," Berube said. "He is a skilled guy. I think he is going to do well."

Battling nerves?

Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen thought that nerves may have gotten the best of the Flyers in Game 1.

"In my mind, we didn't play Flyers hockey - we were a little nervous maybe, or something," Timonen said. "We have to enjoy this moment and go out there and play our game and really enjoy it, because you never know when you will be in this spot again. Overall, I think everybody can give more."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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