NEW YORK - Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who missed the playoff opener against the host Rangers because of an upper-body injury, is "doing better," coach Craig Berube said.

Berube originally said Mason would arrive Friday, but he was at Madison Square Garden by game time Thursday. The Flyers said after the game that Mason would practice with the team Friday in New York.

Berube said he didn't know if Mason would be available for Sunday's game. Still, he seemed encouraged that the goalie was on his way to recovery.

Mason went 2-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .937 save percentage against the Rangers this season.

Building hatred

Claude Giroux said that the Flyers and Rangers "respect each other as persons," and later added that "the more hatred there is between players, that's when the series is even better."

Rinaldo returns

After serving a four-game suspension for an illegal check, winger Zac Rinaldo returned to the lineup Thursday. He was on the fourth line, with Vinny Lecavalier and Adam Hall.

Before the game, Rinaldo said he would remain aggressive on the ice.

"I don't want to think to myself I have to tiptoe around people in different situations, because if I do I might be throwing myself off my game," he said.

Getting suspended and missing four games "makes me hungrier," he said.

Rinaldo said he never looks on before games to scout videos of players he may fight.

"If I do that, I'd chill myself out with anxiety," he said.

Bearded wonders

Jake Voracek showed up at practice Wednesday with his reddish beard dyed black.

At the morning skate Thursday, Scott Hartnell had the same look.

"He did it yesterday and I couldn't let him do it alone, so after dinner last night I went to the drug store and got some Just for Men," Hartnell said. "I don't know if it'll catch on with the team, but I couldn't let him go."


Simmonds was asked if the Flyers were targeting the upper body of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who missed about the last two weeks of the season with a left-shoulder injury. "You don't want to do any harm on anyone, but you have to be physical," Simmonds said. . . . Jason Akeson called it a "dream come true" to make his NHL playoff debut; he was on a line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read. . . . Ex-Flyer Dan Carcillo, who usually mixes it up with Rinaldo, was a healthy scratch.