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For first time with Flyers, Mason struggling

WASHINGTON - For the first time in his 32-game Flyers career, goalie Steve Mason is in a funk.

Mason, 25, has stolen points for the Flyers this year with his outstanding goaltending, but he struggled in Sunday's 5-4 shootout loss in Washington.

The Flyers blew a 4-1 lead with less than nine minutes left in regulation.

Not all of the goals were Mason's fault -- there were screens and deflections he had to deal with -- but he wasn't his usual sharp self late in the game, and his botched clearing attempt led to Alex Ovechkin's game-tying goal with 47.9 seconds left in regulation.

Mason, the Flyers' unquestioned MVP this season, then was beaten on two of the three shootout shots.

With Mason, the Flyers had hoped to finally end their poor play in shootouts. It hasn't happened. They are 1-3 in shootouts this season and an NHL-worst 25-46 in franchise history.

After not allowing more than three goals in any of his first 27 games with the Flyers, Mason (11-9-4) has surrendered four goals in each of his last three road starts.His overall body of work has been excellent: a 2.35 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

So does coach Craig Berube put Mason back on the horse Tuesday, when the Flyers host the same Capitals?

The guess here is yes.

After Tuesday, the Flyers play a home-and-home series with Mason's former team, Columbus, on Thursday (at the Wells Fargo Center) and Saturday.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.