This morning, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason (upper body injury) practiced for the first time since Tuesday taking shots from a trio of teammates at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.
After the session, Mason said he felt good and that it’s his goal to be back between the pipes for Game 2 on Sunday, but he wouldn’t estimate his chances of playing.
Sam Carchidi at the Philadelphia Inquirer feels that based on Mason’s body language he’s going to start on Sunday.
…while most of the reviews of Emery’s performance last night were complimentary, I thought he looked awful. The only reason his save total was so high is because 95% of the Rangers shots were from the perimeter with no traffic in front. He looked lethargic and nonathletic, while his rebound control left a lot to be desired.
…if I’m the Flyers, I’d take a half concussed Mason over Emery every day of the week and twice on Sunday. If he is back for Game 2, expect a much more competitive, low scoring, one-goal game.
Meanwhile, in a bit of news that is sure to shock no one…
Berube says Flyers will try to skate puck into zone more and have fewer dump ins.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 18, 2014
Yes, Berube’s nonsensical idea to get away from their year long successful strategy of carrying the puck into the opponent’s zone in favor of playing dump and chase predictably fell flat, which Wayne Simmonds explains why (via NJ.com)…
“Our plan was to chip pucks in, and as soon as we got pucks in, it seemed like they had three guys to our two.”
…the Rangers did an amazing job in the neutral zone as well as stepping up on the Flyers forwards at the blueline, not allowing them to quickly enter the offensive end after dumping the puck in. This gave the Blueshirt defenseman retrieving the puck some precious extra time to make a play. Also, when the Flyers were able to enter the zone unimpeded the Rangers destroyed them in every puck battle.
…while Berube’s new strategy seemed to work on the Flyers lone goal when Hartnell rocked McDonagh behind the net, I’m going to chalk that up to the Rangers defenseman’s rust to begin the game as Philly wasn’t able to duplicate that effort for the remainder of the game.
…i’m not so sure reverting back to carrying the puck into the zone is going to work either, as the Rangers will continue to step up and poke the puck away from the Philadelphia forwards hopefully starting an odd man break the other way. And as Berube alluded to yesterday, the Flyers don’t have the speed to get around the Rangers defenders.
Only seven players and both goalies took part in the Rangers optional practice this morning.
Here’s Marc Staal on why the Rangers were so successful in Game 1…
Pic of Mason at practice courtesy of TSN’s Mark Masters.