Giroux line takes Leafs ‘to school’ in Flyers’ 7-4 victory


The Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a 2-0 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night, but the Flyers weren’t discouraged and it soon became apparent they had no reason to be. With goaltender Steve Mason (back) unavailable, the Flyers gave Ray Emery all the support he needed in a 7-4 victory.

The Flyers trio of Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek led the charge for Philadelphia. Giroux had two goals and two assists, Voracek recorded four assists, and Raffl had a two-point night. Leafs coach Randy Carlyle remarked that the Giroux line took Toronto “to school” in the second frame, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Philadelphia outshot Toronto 42-25 in tonight’s game and 34-16 in the first 40 minutes alone. That’s been a common problem for the Maple Leafs as their shots on goal differential stands at minus-4.1 so far this season.

“We have got to cut down our shots against,” Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf conceded, according to TSN’s Jonas Siegel.

Toronto has now lost two in a row, but the team is still 7-3-0 this month.

Flyers aren’t scared to let goalie Zepp, 33, make his NHL debut


With goaltender Steve Mason sidelined because of a back issue, Ray Emery is expected to start tonight. The Flyers are playing again on Sunday though, so could 33-year-old call up Rob Zepp make his NHL debut in that contest? If Emery struggles early tonight, will coach Craig Berube yank him in favor of Zepp?

Whatever happens, Berube and GM Ron Hextall feel confident that Zepp’s capable of playing at this level after his strong showing in the preseason.

“When we sent him down, I told him, ‘Rob you did everything you could accomplish in training camp and if someone goes down, we will feel comfortable bringing you up and giving you a shot,’” Hextall said, per CSN Philly.

“That is pretty much where it is at now. Whether he gets a shot it’s up to him.”

Zepp, who spent nine straight seasons playing in the Finnish and German leagues before returning to North America, has a 2.70 GAA and .918 save percentage in 17 AHL games this season.

He said back in July that he drew inspiration from goaltenders Tim Thomas and Viktor Fasth, who had to take the long road to the NHL. However, if Zepp does play this weekend then he will be making his debut years older than either of them.

“Throughout your career, you always have your doubts,” Zepp said of the possibility that he would ever play in the NHL.

“I always believed in myself and I could do it. I just needed an opportunity. One presented itself in the summer with the Flyers and another has presented itself now.”

Goalie nods: Corey Crawford returns

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All the latest from the blue paint …

Corey comes back for Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks have been playing quite well in Corey Crawford’s absence, as Scott Darling and Antti Raanta have put up almost identically nice numbers. Still, there’s something to be said for stability, and Chicago will get that back tonight as Crawford faces off against the always-limping Columbus Blue Jackets.

Crawford, 29, was on quite the hot run before he went down with a lower-body injury, too. He won his last three games, allowing four goals combined. Crawford also won six of seven and eight of 10.

His overall numbers have been impressive, even if the strong team in front of him certainly helps matters; Crawford is 12-5-1 with a .929 save percentage and one shutout.

The Blackhawks will probably face Sergei Bobrovsky tonight as they hope to continue their domination of Columbus.

Elsewhere …

Coyotes at Kings: Devan Dubnyk vs. (probably) Jonathan Quick

Capitals at Devils: Braden Holtby vs. Cory Schneider

Lightning at Islanders: Andrei Vasilevskiy vs. Jaroslav Halak

Flyers at Maple Leafs: Ray Emery’s expected, Jonathan Bernier’s confirmed

Senators at Canadiens: Robin Lehner vs. Carey Price

Rangers at Hurricanes: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Cam Ward

Panthers at Penguins: Roberto Luongo vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Avalanche at Sabres: Calvin Pickard vs. Jhonas Enroth

Predators at Wild: Pekka Rinne vs. Darcy Kuemper

Flames at Canucks: Jonas Hiller vs. Ryan Miller

Blues at Sharks: Jake Allen vs. Antti Niemi

Mason will see back specialist; Flyers don’t think it’s serious


We already know that Steve Mason won’t play in the Philadelphia Flyers’ weekend games, but the team is still trying to determine how much longer he’ll be out thanks to back issues.

The 26-year-old goalie is seeing a back specialist on Monday, which sounds foreboding, although GM Ron Hextall also told’s Tim Panaccio that the team doesn’t think he’ll be out long term.

While Philly’s standings results have been mixed so far this season, it’s probably true that Mason is quieting some of his critics who believed he’d plummet after a solid early start to his Flyers days. While his 6-10-5 record isn’t ideal, Mason has generated an impressive .921 save percentage. If he maintained that mark through the 2014-15 season, it would represent the best full-season save percentage of his NHL career.

Philadelphia faces the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and then the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

At the moment, it looks like the Flyers will lean on Ray Emery and Rob Zepp in net.

Flyers’ Mason tweaked back, will miss weekend games


Steve Mason tweaked his back during Friday’s practice in Philadelphia and is undergoing an MRI sources have told PHT.

The Flyers goaltender will miss both Saturday’s game in Toronto and Sunday in Winnipeg.

The 26-year-old is 6-10-5 this season with a 2.49 GAA, .921 save percentage.

It is unknown how long Mason will be out at this point as the club is still awaiting the results of the MRI.

Philadelphia will reportedly recall goaltender Rob Zepp from the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms to backup Ray Emery.

Related: Mason hurt, helped off ice at end of Flyers practice