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Flyers to start Mason in opener against Maple Leafs

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he was happy with the play of goalies Steve Mason and Ray Emery during training camp, but opted for Mason to start the season opener Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in part based on how Mason performed with the Flyers last season.

The 25-year-old, who joined the team in April after a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, went 4-2-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in seven games.

"Both goaltenders played well," Laviolette said. "We have to have a starting point here. Steve came here at the end of last year and really played terrific for us. Either one of them could have started, but we had to choose. Based on what Steve did at the end of last year, and the way Steve came into camp in shape, and the way he played through camp … both goaltenders, you could make a case for either one. We had to start somewhere and we decided to go with Steve. He had a great camp and he's ready to go."

Just because Mason is starting Wednesday, though, does not mean he's the No. 1. Laviolette would not commit to either goalie for the Flyers' next game, Oct. 5 at the Montreal Canadiens, but stuck to what he's been saying since Emery signed in July, that both goalies would play.

"We've got two guys, they practice well together, they don't mind hanging out with each other, they push each other," Laviolette said. "They're competitive in practice and that's a good thing. We'll evaluate things as they go on, but both goalies will play."

Teammates said they aren't concerned.

"Doesn't matter for us who's in net," defenseman Andrej Meszaros told "Both goalies are great. They can really help us in the back end because they can handle the puck pretty well."

"Both goalies we have a lot of confidence in," captain Claude Giroux said. "If its Mase [Mason] or Razor [Emery], I think we'll be the same team. I think guys weren't even worried before the game to see who's in net because we know we have two good goaltenders behind us."


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