Ron Hextall said during yesterday's Flyers-Penguins game that Michal Neuvirth was planning to start in net, but "wasn't feeling right", which led to the team taking him out 20 minutes before the game began. Steve Mason would start and finish the game, and he'll now be doing even more of that over the next few weeks after the Flyers announced this morning that Neuvirth will miss even more time than expected.
Injury Update: G Michal Neuvirth will be out for three weeks with a lower-body injury → https://t.co/1xPjRXgjVi— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 20, 2016
If you don't have a calendar in front of you, "three weeks" from today would be Sunday, April 10. That would mark the last day of the regular season (the Flyers play in Brooklyn that day). Given the fact that at that point, the Flyers will either be heading into a playoff run on the back of Steve Mason or playing their last game of the season, it's fairly possible that Neuvirth has started his last game of the season.
It's unclear what exactly is wrong with Neuvirth, and given the fact that the team apparently expected him to play at about 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, something had to have happened fairly recently that flared up. It's a very unfortunate break for the Flyers and for Neuvirth, who's been having the best season of his NHL career and has given the Flyers outstanding goaltending as Steve Mason's platoon-mate.
This, of course, means that Steve Mason will be getting the bulk of the team's goaltending work over the team's final twelve games.
The Flyers have not yet announced a call-up, but it can safely be assumed that Anthony Stolarz will fill Neuvirth's spot. To fill in for Neuvirth on the roster, the Flyers have recalled Anthony Stolarz from Lehigh Valley.
Stolarz has been called up three times this season as an injury fill-in but has not yet made his on-ice NHL debut. With four back-to-backs still on the schedule, we'll see if the Flyers are willing to throw the rookie on the ice while they're in the middle of a playoff push.
Make no mistake, though: more than ever, the Flyers' playoff hopes will now hinge on whether or not Steve Mason can keep up his strong play since the New Year.