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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 1:56 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers' Gill expected to replace injured Grossmann

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Quick brain or quick feet.

That's the decision facing Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube as he picks a defenseman to join the lineup for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Sunday (noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).

With Nicklas Grossmann out with a lower-body injury sustained in the second period of Game 4 on Friday, Berube must choose between speedy 25-year-old Erik Gustafsson or 39-year-old veteran Hal Gill.

"We've got a guy that's a quick guy, he closes quick," Berube said. "He's been a good player for us. And you got the old, crafty veteran back there that has played a lot of games and has got good leadership. He doesn't have the feet the other guy has [but] he's smart. So it's not an easy decision.

"I'm going to sleep on it [Saturday] and wake up in the morning and make a decision."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 12:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers counting on Mason's puck-handling skills

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have been consistent in saying they have confidence no matter which goalie is in net, Steve Mason or Ray Emery.

But with Mason making his first start of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH), there is one skill that sets him apart from Emery, and that's Mason's ability to handle the puck.

"When you have a guy that can make the right decisions behind the net, it's very important," forward Vincent Lecavalier said. "It helps our defensemen out for sure. Just making that first quick play or them communicating with the defense. It's important to get out of the zone. I think it's going to be a great help for us."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 6:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers tinker with struggling power play

VOORHEES, N.J. -- After having 28 shots blocked in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers, including nine during five power plays, the Philadelphia Flyers spent a large portion of practice Thursday working on puck movement in 5-on-4 situations.

The hope is that the extra work pays off in Game 4 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Coach Craig Berube opted not to change any of his personnel or base set-ups, but one noticeable strategic alteration on the top unit was forward Jakub Voracek having more pucks worked through him in his rover spot along the right side, rather than have everything flow through captain Claude Giroux along the half boards on the left side.

"It's more about puck movement and opening things up, doing things quicker," Berube said. "It's about execution. We had a lot of zone time on the power play but not enough executing pucks through to the net."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 12:59 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Goaltender Mason to start Game 4 for Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Goalie Steve Mason will start for the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Mason was on the ice for the entire practice session Thursday and said he feels ready to go.

"Second day in a row, third day really, where there were no issues on the ice," he said. "Was a good feeling."

It will be Mason's first start since April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 2:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers' Mason ready to start Game 4 if called upon

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready Wednesday to name his starting goalie for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).

But Steve Mason said he's ready if needed.

"If [Berube] says I'm in, I'll be ready," Mason said following an optional practice Wednesday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 6:33 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Mason in Flyers lineup, to back up Emery

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason will return to the lineup Tuesday and serve as the backup to Ray Emery in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, SNET-360, MSG, CSN-PH).

It will be Mason's first time in the lineup since sustaining an upper-body injury April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins when Pittsburgh forward Jayson Megna pushed Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald into Mason.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 12:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers hope to see Giroux create more offensively

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Forward Claude Giroux took a hard tumble into the boards during the Philadelphia Flyers' morning skate Tuesday but popped right back up and said afterward he felt fine.

The Flyers hope he feels just as good after they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, SNET-360, MSG, CSN-PH).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1, but Giroux has zero shots. He does have an assist and a plus-3 rating, but for a player who finished third in the NHL in scoring with 86 points and tied his career-best with 28 goals, the hope is there's more offense for him to contribute.

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 3:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers focused on solving home power-play woes

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers fans have gained a bit of a reputation over the years for their raucous behavior at Wells Fargo Center. Could it be affecting how the team performs on the power play?

"It's a little harder when 19,000 people yell shoot after 20 seconds on the power play," forward Jakub Voracek said.

The Flyers had the 25th-ranked power play at home during the regular season at 15.1 percent. After the Olympic break it was 9-for-56 (16.1 percent) in 14 games at Wells Fargo Center; however, that includes a 2-for-6 effort in the final two home games against the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 12 games against teams that were playoff contenders, it went 7-for-50 (14.0 percent).

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 2:10 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers' Mason not ready; Emery to start Game 3

VOORHEES, NJ -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason ruled himself out of Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, MSG, CSN-PH).

Ray Emery, who made 31 saves in a Game 2 win Sunday and has a .913 save percentage for the series, will start, with rookie Calvin Heeter as his backup.

Mason, who is listed by the team as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated for about 45 minutes Monday, on his own and as part of the team's optional practice. He said he felt better but not well enough to dress for Game 3.

"You know how you feel when you're done practice," he said. "I feel good with the goaltending part of the practice, but there's other things that are affecting the decision."

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Posted On Friday, 04.18.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers' Mason skates, but questionable for Game 2

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was on the ice with teammates at an optional practice Friday but his availability for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Sunday (Noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS) remains unknown.

Mason has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and his hour-long session Friday was the first time he skated with teammates since Tuesday.

"Felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple days," Mason said. "It was a good step."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres