When the Flyers lost goaltender Steve Mason due to a knee injury, they weren’t able to turn to Rob Zepp as he was sidelined due to an ailment sustained while in the minors. Now that Zepp is healthy, Philadelphia announced that the 33-year-old goaltender has been recalled.
Philadelphia has also returned 21-year-old goaltender Anthony Stolarz to the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Stolarz didn’t make his NHL debut during his stint with the team. Flyers GM Ron Hextall admitted when Mason was injured that Stolarz probably wasn’t ready to play in the NHL yet, but he was the only healthy goaltender the Flyers had under contract in the minors.
Ray Emery has picked up the slack under those circumstances, posting a 2.24 GAA and .922 save percentage in four games since Mason left the ice on Feb. 8. Zepp has a 2.92 GAA and .889 save percentage in six contests with Philadelphia in 2014-15.
Given that Philadelphia is set to play in five games over eight days starting on Tuesday, it’s likely that the Flyers will need to utilize both goaltenders. Mason might be able to return towards the end of this month.
Michael Raffl had the game winner as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Sunday night.
With the win Philly now has points in nine straight (6-0-3). Buffalo has just one win in its last five after snapping a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak on Feb. 3.
Philadelphia moves to within five points of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Matt Read opened the scoring with his fifth of the season at 3:19 of the first period.
Nikita Zadorov tied it 1-1, on a Buffalo power play, at 13:57 of the second period.
Zach Bogosian made his Sabres debut Sunday. He finished with a Buffalo season-high 11 hits, two blocked shots and a team-leading 24:49 of ice time in the loss.
Ray Emery made 21 saves improving to 10-9-3 on the season.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 28 shots in the loss.
News and notes from around the crease …
No shame about Ray
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t have felt great about their slim playoff hopes when Steve Mason went down with his knee injury. For better or worse, it’s on Ray Emery, and Sunday is the kind of game he has to win.
Since taking over for Mason in February, Emery’s gone 1-0-2. The 30-year-old’s overall numbers aren’t much to brag about (9-9-3 with a .890 save percentage), but this stretch will probably make a big impact on how the league views the pugnacious puck-stopper going forward.
On the Buffalo side, Michal Neuvirth gets a chance to stretch his legs in the Sabres’ net with Jhonas Enroth shipped off to Dallas.
The situations are quite different, yet both netminders have plenty to prove today.
Blues at Panthers: Brian Elliott vs. Roberto Luongo
Lightning at Sharks: Expected starters are Ben Bishop against Antti Niemi
Capitals at Ducks: Expected starters are Justin Peters vs. John Gibson