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Flyers goalie Mason to back up Emery vs. Coyotes

by Adam Kimelman /

COYOTES (16-25-5) at FLYERS (19-22-7)


Steve Mason will be in uniform for the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes, but as the backup goaltender.

Mason, who has not played since Jan. 10 because of a lower-body injury, took part in the morning skate Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center and said it's the best he's felt since getting hurt, and that even takes into account an illness that kept him from practicing Monday.

"Today was the best workout I've had since the injury," Mason said, according to the Flyers website. "Felt really good today. Been sick the past couple days, so the wind wasn't there, but overall I felt really good."

In Mason's absence, Ray Emery and Rob Zepp have split time in goal. Emery, who will start Tuesday, is coming off one of his best performances of the season, a 33-save win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 20.

However, Mason likely will be back in net Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

"I thought he looked fine today," Flyers coach Craig Berube said of Mason. "I think he needs more practice time, but I thought he looked fine."

The only significant change to the Flyers lineup comes at forward; Michael Raffl will miss the game because of an illness, so Petr Straka, recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, will make his NHL debut. Straka has 11 goals and 17 points in 39 AHL games.

"He's got NHL talent, for sure," Flyers center Ryan White, who played on a line with Straka in the AHL, told the Courier-Post. "... I think his biggest attributes are when he makes a move he takes the puck to the net pretty quick and makes a play. The last few games down there he had goals in both of them. They were just a little move out of the corner, taking the puck to the net like he should. It was good playing with him."

Berube said he wasn't sure where the 22-year-old would fit into the line combinations Tuesday, but he was excited to see Straka in action.

"Good speed, goal scorer, got good wheels," Berube said. "He adds a lot of speed to our lineup. He's got the ability to score goals."

The Coyotes reworked their defense pairings Tuesday, with Zbynek Michalek ready to play after missing two games before the All-Star break because of a lower-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups:


Tobias Rieder - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Martin Erat - Martin Hanzal - Sam Gagner

Brandon McMillan - Kyle Chipchura - David Moss

Lucas Lessio - Joe Vitale - Lauri Korpikoski

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Andrew Campbell - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Mike McKenna

Scratched: Chris Summers, B.J. Crombeen

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (spleen)


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - R.J. Umberger

Petr Straka - Ryan White - Wayne Simmonds

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Carlo Colaiacovo - Andrew MacDonald

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: Rob Zepp

Suspended: Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Nicklas Grossmann (upper body), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Michael Raffl (illness), Scott Laughton (upper body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots)

Status report: Murphy plays for the second time against his father, Flyers assistant coach Gord Murphy. ... Rinaldo is serving the first of an eight-game suspension imposed Monday for a charging/boarding incident with the Penguins' Kris Letang on Jan. 20. He is eligible to return Feb. 17 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Who's hot: Doan has two goals and four assists in his past six games. ... Luke Schenn has a point in three straight games, a career best.


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