MONTREAL - The news could have been worse.
The Flyers announced Tuesday that Steve Mason, who has been among the NHL's best goalies this season, will miss two to three weeks, meaning he will be sidelined for seven to 10 games.
Mason, 26, suffered an apparent injury to his right knee Sunday and had to be helped to the locker room in the second period of the Flyers' 3-1 win in Washington. It was his third injury in the last seven weeks, and there was some fear it could end his season.
It is believed Mason had a minor surgical procedure performed Tuesday, though the Flyers would not confirm it, saying only that he had a "lower-body injury."
The Flyers entered Tuesday nine points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, and they will try to rally around backup goalie Ray Emery and stay in the hunt.
In his last eight appearances, Mason had a 1.17 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage. He is tied for fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.925) among goalies who have played at least half of their team's games, and his 2.27 goals-against average is ninth in the NHL.
Despite his eye-opening numbers, Mason has just an 11-12-7 record, primarily because the Flyers have averaged just 2.04 goals per game (44th in goal support for goalies) while he is in the nets. They entered Tuesday's matchup against Montreal averaging a league-high 3.42 goals per game when Emery plays, according to HockeyAnalysis.com.
Mason has just one victory in 13 road games this season (1-8-4).
"He's played well enough where he should have a lot more wins," coach Craig Berube said.
On Sunday, Mason was playing in his fifth game since returning from an injured right knee, an ailment that sidelined him for six games. He also missed four games earlier in the season with a back injury.