After a stellar preseason, Steve Mason looked poised to build off his Vezina-caliber 2014-15 performance this season. Unfortunately, a family issue stopped Mason in his tracks, contributing to a poor game against the Florida Panthers and causing the goalie to miss two starts.
But tonight, it looks like Mason is ready to go.
Mason starting tonight.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) October 20, 2015
Neuvirth, fresh off two straight shutouts last week against the Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks, will likely get the start tomorrow in Boston versus the Bruins. The move to start Mason tonight is a vote of confidence for the goaltender, who clearly is in no danger of losing his position atop the depth chart despite Neuvirth's strong work in relief.
There will be no changes to the forwards and defensemen in terms of the overall roster. R.J. Umberger has apparently recovered from his upper-body injury and is capable of playing in tonight's game, but coach Dave Hakstol has chosen to keep Sam Gagner in the lineup. Gagner has one goal and one assist in two games since leaving the press box.
Hakstol will also keep the fourth line of Chris VandeVelde, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan White together, leaving no space for Umberger. White was a scratch candidate, but a strong performance by the fourth line against Chicago last week likely influenced Hakstol's decision to keep them intact.
The Flyers will make some minor adjustments to their line combinations, however. Matt Read moves up to his old spot on the Sean Couturier line along with Wayne Simmonds, while Brayden Schenn slides down to play with Scott Laughton and Sam Gagner. Read has a long history of being the Robin to Couturier's second line Batman, and with Read fully recovered from last season's ankle sprain, Hakstol will hope that their old chemistry reemerges.
Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds
Sam Gagner - Scott Laughton - Brayden Schenn
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Evgeny Medvedev - Radko Gudas
Michael Del Zotto - Brandon Manning