Hakstol: ‘Easy decision’ to start Mason tonight


After letting in a historically bad goal in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Caps, Steve Mason has been subjected to a number of questions — including ones asking whether he’d start tonight’s pivotal Game 3 at Wells Fargo.

The answer, according to head coach Dave Hakstol, was a no-brainer. From the Inquirer:

Hakstol said it was an “easy decision” to go back to goalie Steve Mason on Monday. Mason allowed a 101-foot goal in Saturday’s 4-1 loss, but he carried the Flyers into the playoffs and was brilliant in Game 1.

“He’s a huge part of why we’re playing in the playoffs,’ Hakstol said.

Mason deserves a shot at redemption. As Hakstol alluded to, the 27-year-old was huge during Philly’s playoff push down the stretch — the goalie of record in 17 of the last 19 games — and, let’s be honest here, Hakstol’s other option isn’t great.

While it’s true Michal Neuvirth had a very good regular season, he’s essentially played just once over the last month, missing extensive time with a torn meniscus in his left knee. It would be asking a lot of Neuvirth to step into this series and make an impact.

That said, it’s easy to see why the suggestion of a goalie switch is out there.

Yesterday, Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill made the change from Jimmy Howard to Petr Mrazek for Game 3 against the Bolts, after Howard lost the first two games of the series (though was hardly to blame).

Mrazek and Detroit responded with a 16-save shutout win over the Bolts.