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Flyers recall Straka; Mason improving and will back up Emery

The Flyers recalled speedy winger Petr Straka from Lehigh Valley to replace the ill Michael Raffl on Tuesday.

The Flyers recalled speedy winger Petr Straka from Lehigh Valley to replace the ill Michael Raffl on Tuesday.

Straka, 22, was not at the morning skate, but he will be in the lineup Tuesday night against visiting Arizona.

"He's a good skater. Fast. A goal scorer who can put the puck in the net," coach Craig Berube said.

In 39 AHL games, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Straka had 11 goals, 17 points and a minus-3 rating. He scored goals in his last three games with the Phantoms, and was promoted ahead of Jason Akeson

Straka will be the fourth player on the Flyers to make his NHL debut this season, joining Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Shayne Gostisbehere and Rob Zepp.

In addition to Straka, Ryan White will make his Flyers debut tonight. Straka will be on a line with White and Wayne Simmonds.

Mason's return.  Steve Mason, who missed the last six games with a knee injury, will serve as Ray Emery's backup Tuesday. Barring a setback, Mason will start Thursday against visiting Winnipeg.

In the morning skate, Mason faced shots from the entire team for the first time since he was injured against Boston on Jan. 10.

"Today's the best work I've had since the injury. I felt really good today," said Mason, who had been ill the last few days. "I'm just excited to be back with the guys."

Mason, who has a 2.46 goals-against average and .920 save percentage, sounded confident that he could play Thursday.

"It's been a long process, and the organization has been extremely patient with it," Mason said. "The organization exhausted every possibility to find a solution, and I really appreciate that. We didn't take any drastic measures (such as surgery), so I give our training staff and Hexy (GM Ron Hextall) credit for being patient."

The Flyers begin Tuesday 12 points out of a playoff spot with 34 games left. The March 2 trade deadline is looming.

"We're an extremely tight group, but if we're not going to play as a group on the ice, then somethimes changes have to happen," Mason said.. "At the end of the day, the ball is in our court to control what happens. If we can start stringing some things together and give the organization proof that nothing really needs to change, then that's up to us to prove that."

Voracek's goal. Winger Jake Voracek, back from his six-point performance in the All-Star Game, knows the Flyers have a long road ahead as they attempt to make up a 12-point deficit and earn a playoff berth.

"I look at the next 34 games, win 25 of them, so it's a good challenge," he said. "...We have to keep the momentum we had from the Pittsburgh game and keep going."

The Flyers scored a 3-2 overtime win over the Penguins last Tuesday in their last game before the all-star break.

Winning 25 of the final 34, Mason said, is "absoltuely" a realistic goal "if the consistency is there. We have to prove that. We have to put together that 10-game segment where we're picking up points."

"We're not in a very good position, but at the end of the day, we're still in it," captain Claude Giroux said. "Start winning a couple in a row, and we'll see what we can do."

Said Mason: "We're going to have to put together a great end of the year.....The only thing we control is how we perform the last half of the season. At the end of the year, we can look at ourselves and understand we tried our best to get ourselves out of the hole."

Rinaldo not appealing. Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo said he would not appeal his eight-game suspension from the NHL. "The league made their decision, and I'm just going to take it, and move on from it," he said.