NEW YORK — Rick Nash took an 0-for against Steve Mason on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Five shots, five saves.
Nash had a golden chance early in the game but Mason slid across to deny it. He denied him three more times in the second period, too.
“It was a big save to make and gives you confidence,” Mason said of Nash’s initial chance. “Coming in here, this isn’t an easy building to come away with two points.”
“I was feeling good from the opening puck drop. Over the course of 60 minutes, there’s moments that can alter the outcome of games. It’s the goaltender’s job to come up with big saves.”
Which is what Mason did throughout. His 27 saves in the opening two periods allowed the Flyers to steal two points (see feature highlight).
“This was probably Mase’s best game of the season,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “Like I told him after the game, he was the hardest-working guy there. When your goalie plays like that, it really gets you going.”
Giroux and Jakub Voracek, who scored the second goal, both said the Flyers stuck with their game plan and it allowed them time to get their offense going.
With the game scoreless after two periods against Henrik Lundqvist, who had beaten the Flyers twice already this season, the Flyers knew because of Mason, they had a chance to win a game they likely didn’t deserve.
“It was 0-0 going into the third and we were pretty excited about that,” Giroux said. “You’re on the road and you have a chance to steal a game. It was a big win for us.”
It could have been 3-0 Rangers after two periods.
“He gives you that confidence,” Voracek said. “Mase was outstanding. It’s a huge two points for us. It’s always tough to play in this building. It’s always weird. But we stuck with it. We found a way.”
This was Mason’s best game in a long time. He had 36 saves in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime victory against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Mason now has the third-most wins (94) in franchise history, behind only Ron Hextall (240) and Bernie Parent (232).
Moving forward, what the Flyers need from Mason is that same, solid, upward trend the remainder of the second half of the season. He lost his way in recent weeks.
The Flyers have a three-day All-Star break coming this weekend after playing Toronto on Thursday at home.
“He did a good job,” coach Dave Hakstol said of Mason. “I don’t know that he ever lost his footing. There are ups and downs for every player in this game. But for sure, he did a great job for us tonight.”