Blue Jackets-Flyers Preview
Steve Mason is starting to play nearly as effectively as he did
when he burst onto the scene with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Mason appears likely to start Thursday night as his Philadelphia
Flyers look for an eighth straight win at the Wells Fargo Center in
the opener of this home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets.
The Flyers No. 1 goalie is 12-9-4 with a 2.34 goals-against
average this season, his best GAA since he went 33-20-7 with a 2.29
mark as a rookie with Columbus in 2008-09 when he captured the
Coach Craig Berube has not officially announced whether Mason
will start Thursday or Saturday’s rematch in Columbus, which would
mark the goalie’s first game as a visitor at Nationwide Arena.
Mason – the only netminder to start a postseason game for the
Blue Jackets – struggled in subsequent seasons and was traded to
Philadelphia (15-15-4) on April 3.
“I got nothing to prove to that organization,” Mason said. “They
gave me this chance to come here and start from scratch, have that
fresh opportunity and there’s no hard feelings whatsoever.”
Mason said he planned to have dinner Wednesday with R.J.
Umberger, his roommate during his time with Columbus and one of the
former teammates he never said goodbye to.
“I was traded after practice one day and that same day we were
supposed to be taking off to St. Louis or Nashville,” Mason said.
“I was back at my place, lived in the same building as a couple
other guys and the other guys that lived in the building were
traded also so those were the only ones I got to say goodbye
This game won’t mark the return of former Flyers goalie Sergei
Bobrovsky since the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is out with a
groin strain. Curtis McElhinney is expected to start in goal for
Columbus (14-16-4) after missing two games with a lower-body
The Flyers are seeking their first eight-game home win streak
since Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010.
Amazingly, winger Brayden Schenn could play Thursday after he
left Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Washington when he crashed headfirst
into the boards due to a hit from behind by the Capitals’ Tom
Wilson, who received a 5-minute major and ejection for
Schenn did not practice Wednesday but will take part in
Thursday’s morning skate.
“I feel good, better than I thought,” Schenn said. “A little bit
stiff neck, but as far as the head-wise goes, I feel good and
obviously that’s a good sign.”
The Blue Jackets will have to be wary of another former player
in Jakub Voracek, who has seven points in a five-game run.
Columbus top scorer Ryan Johansen extended his career-best point
streak to nine games in Monday’s 3-2 loss to Winnipeg. He has four
goals and seven assists in his run.
“It was our fifth game in eight days and maybe our legs were a
little heavy,” Johansen said.
The Blue Jackets will be without Derek MacKenzie (lower-body
injury) and Dalton Prout (upper-body). The club is hopeful Marian
Gaborik (knee) and James Wisniewski (upper-body) will return
Columbus has never won in Philadelphia, losing four games and