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Flyers' Mason gets start vs. Canucks; Giroux reaches milestone

Flyers goalie Steve Mason will make his first start in the last four games Thursday night, facing the struggling Vancouver Canucks at the Wells Fargo Center.

It will be Mason's first appearance since he allowed three goals on 10 shots and was removed early in the second period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders on Dec. 8.

Mason is 5-8-4 with a 2.93 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. He has not won in his last seven home starts, going 0-3-3 with a no-decision.

"It's been a tough start to the year; it's definitely not the way I drew it up," Mason said after Thursday's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. "But sometimes you just take it as it is and focus on the future because that's what you can control; you can't control what's already happened."

Mason will be opposed by Vancouver backup goalie Jacob Markstrom, a 6-foot-6, 196-pound Swede who is 1-2-2 with a 2.87 GAA and .906 save percentage.

For Vancouver (11-13-8) , this is the third stop on a six-game road trip that started with lopsided losses in Chicago (4-0) and Minnesota (6-2).

For the Flyers (13-12-6), containing the Sedin twins will be the key. Daniel Sedin has 14 goals and 34 points, while Henrik Sedin has nine goals and 31 points.

"They're just extremely creative," Mason said of the Canucks' Nos. 1 and 2 scorers. "Any time you have two guys that think alike the way the Sedins do, it's tough to manage, but you just try to be as patient as possible. You can't make the first move on them because they are so creative and they'll find those little openings."

As for his return to action, Mason said he wanted to "keep things simple and not overthink things or ove-analyze things. The biggest focus is stopping the puck and taking it shot by shot."

Giroux milestone. Claude Giroux will play in his 243d regular-season game as Flyers captain tonight, surpassing Mike Richards for fifth place on the team's all-time captain list.

After tonight, Giroux will have played more games as a Flyers captain since Eric Lindros's 360 games from 1994-2000.

Gagner out. Forward Sam Gagner is healthy but will be scratched from the lineup Thursday night, according to head coach Dave Hakstol.

When Mark Streit returns in about 10 days, the Flyers are going to need to open cap space to keep Shayne Gostisbehere on the roster. The Flyers might send Gagner, Scott Laughton or R.J. Umberger to the Phantoms. Brandon Manning is also a candidate, but his cap hit alone isn't enough to enable Gostisbehere to remain on the roster when Streit comes off the long-term injured list, per