The Eagles weren’t the only Philly team to suffer a complete defensive meltdown on the road Sunday. But unlike Chip Kelly’s Birds, at least the Flyers did have something to show for letting a three-goal lead slip away in the last nine minutes in a 5-4 shootout loss in Washington.
They still do get a point for their troubles, plus the chance to make sure it doesn’t happen again Tuesday when they host the Capitals to wrap-up a home-and-home series (7:30 p.m.). Still, by letting a win slip away in the last minute for the second time in the final minute of regulation, the Flyers not only cost themselves a point but allowed the Caps to gain two in the division.
Of greater concern, though, is the recent subpar play of Steve Mason, who in his last four starts has surrendered 13 goals. This, coming after Mason did not allow more than three goals his first 20 starts. Will Craig Berube give him a shot at redemption Tuesday or go to Ray Emery, who was torched for five second-period goals in his Chicago homecoming and six overall? Keep in mind, too, that next up is another home-and-home with Columbus, where Mason played his first four seasons.
As is his habit - and that of his predecessor, Peter Laviolette - Berube won’t tip his hand until after the morning skate-around. But after getting stellar goaltending in the first quarter of the season — on several occasions stealing points when the rest of the team struggled — suddenly both Mason and Emery are far from brick walls.
"When you’re on the road and not able to practice that much, it’s just natural that things start to slip a little bit," said Mason, whose goals against averaged has climbed to 2.35 during his current slump. "We had a couple of unfortunate tips off sticks and the one I missed at the end, but overall it was a solid game. You just have to make sure you don’t let your guard down for even a minute because a team like Washington can bite you in the butt."
The Flyers hope to bite right back Tuesday.
"I’m glad we’re playing them again right away," said Berube. "It’s a real big test for us. We had them where we wanted them (Sunday) and we let them off the hook. That’s happened a few times this year.We have to do better. We have to win those games."