With Steve Mason away from the team for an undisclosed personal reason, for a yet indefinite amount of time, the Flyers were thrown for a loop heading into their third game of the season Monday.
Or maybe they weren't, as Michal Neuvirth -- the Flyers' newly signed backup goalie -- shutout the Panthers in his team debut. It's a task that took Steve Mason 32 games to achieve last year (if you don't include a 1-0 shootout loss in November).
“There are a lot of things that happen in a season," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said Monday. "I think the main focus is to make sure everybody stays together stay tight, and I think it’s a great example when you win a 1-0 game like that. Obviously [Neuvirth] had a lot of big saves for us, and I think the fans and forwards were trying to do our best to help him, and I think the fans really did a good job.”
Most recently with the Islanders, Neuvirth has a 2.73 goals against average across several professional leagues. The Czech-born goalie is right at home in the Flyers' locker room with countryman Jakub Voracek.
“We knew that Neuvy has a great ability to win a game on his own and when [Florida] had chances, he was very good in net," Voracek said. "We only scored one goal, but he was solid, so it’s good to have that confidence.”
The keeper, off to a solid start, could very likely get the call to start against last year's Stanley Cup Champions the Blackhawks Wednesday (an 8 p.m. start that will honor Kimmo Timonen's retirement). And Flyers fans will certainly be hoping he feels as good then as he did Wednesday.
“I thought I had a good pregame skate," Neuvirth said, explaining his preparation prior to the victory. "I think the last game helped me a lot. I was coming to the game more relaxed. I was just feeling good the whole day and the guys followed me. They did an outstanding job; so many blocked shots in front of me. Great team effort.”