The door is open for Steve Mason after his goaltending partner sustained an injury that’s expected to keep him out of action for at least a month.
Michal Neuvirth, the other half of the Philadelphia Flyers netminding tandem, is sidelined for four to six weeks, the team announced Sunday. Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly is reporting Neuvirth has a left knee sprain.
According to the Flyers, Neuvirth sustained the injury in the first period of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota. He had stopped six of seven shots before giving way to Mason for the second period. Mason made 19 saves in the win.
The Flyers No. 1 goaltending job was viewed as an open competition heading into the season. Both are in the last years of their contracts with unrestricted free agency looming. Neuvirth replaced Mason in the middle of Philadelphia’s first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals in April.
Neuvirth’s injury re-opens the door for Mason, who was frustrated with his own performance after allowing four third-period goals in a 6-3 loss to Toronto on Friday night.
Neither 28-year-old goaltender has been very good this season as they are in the bottom five of qualified goaltenders for save percentage. Mason is 3-5-2 with a 3.41 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage in 11 appearances. Neuvirth is behind him in both statistical categories (3.54 and .859) but sports a 4-2 record in nine appearances.
The Flyers are second in the NHL in goals for with 53, but are only 7-7-2 because they’re tied with Calgary for last in goals against with 58.
No announcement to replace Neuvirth has been announced, however Anthony Stolarz would be the leading candidate. Stolarz, 22, was drafted in the second round (45th overall) by the Flyers in 2012. He’s 6-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and one shutout for AHL Lehigh Valley.