Stolarz likely to play for Flyers this time around
Goalie Anthony Stolarz has made the trek to Philadelphia several times before, but this occasion should be different. Stolarz was officially recalled by the Flyers from the Phantoms on Monday to replace injured Michal Neuvirth.
Goalie Anthony Stolarz has made the trek to Philadelphia several times before, but this occasion should be different.
Stolarz was officially recalled by the Flyers from the Phantoms on Monday to replace injured Michal Neuvirth.
During a 3-2 win Saturday over the visiting Minnesota Wild, Neuvirth suffered a lower body injury that general manager Ron Hextall said would sideline him for four to six weeks.
Neuvirth will be placed on long-term injured reserve, giving the Flyers enough salary-cap space to recall Stolarz.
This is the seventh time that Stolarz has come up to the Flyers, but the 6-foot-6 product of New Jersey's Jackson High has never played in an NHL game. That should change this time around.
If Neuvirth is out the minimum of four weeks, he would miss 14 games, including two back-to-backs.
Stolarz "has proven he is ready to be here," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Monday after practice in Voorhees. "We will take it day by day and decide when that start is. We'll have him as a starter at some point of time during this stretch."
Steve Mason is expected to earn the bulk of the playing time and that is fine with the veteran goaltender. Mason played the final two periods in relief of Neuvirth on Saturday and enjoyed a strong game, saving 20 of 21 shots.
Last year when Neuvirth was sidelined with a knee injury, Mason started 12 straight late-season games. The Flyers went 6-4-2 in that stretch as they made a late charge and secured the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Mason had a .926 save percentage during that time.
"There have been points in my career where I played a lot of hockey - toward the end of last season is an example," Mason said. "I look forward to it."
Neuvirth and Mason proved to be a solid tandem last season, but this fall both have yet to find their groove. Neuvirth has a 3.54 goals-against average and an .859 save percentage. Mason is at 3.41 and .880. Both goalies are in final season of their contracts.
"Mase and Neuvy had very good years last year," general manager Ron Hextall said. "Their talent hasn't left them, their skill [hasn't left], nothing really changed. They are in a little bit of a funk and they have to get out of it."
Stolarz, 22, was an AHL all-star last season and was off to a quick start this year with a 6-2 record, a 2.39 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage for the Phantoms. He was the Flyers' second-round draft choice (45th overall) in 2012.
"I am pretty eager," Stolarz said. "I want to get that next test. I want to get a shot in the NHL and see what it is all about."
A goal credited to Brandon Manning on Saturday has been changed and Jake Voracek gets the goal. Manning and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare received the assists. . . . Voracek has a team-high 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists. . . . The Flyers' next back-to-back games will be Nov. 22 at Florida and Nov. 23 at Tampa Bay.