Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Steve Mason needs to continue to be effective.
The Flyers have gotten consistent goaltending (for the most part) from Steve Mason this season.
In 50 games, he is 26-16-6 with a 2.62 GAA and a .914 save percentage. He was at his best early in the season when the Flyers were struggling as a team to score. He has had a few mini-slumps this season, but there is no way Philadelphia would still be in contention for a playoff berth without his play this season.
Ray Emery has been injured recently and has not appeared in a game since February 27. The backup goalie resumed practice with the team on Thursday and may play this weekend in the home-and-home series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Emery's return is a key. While Mason should get the vast majority of the work down the stretch, coach Craig Berube needs to spell him enough to keep the goalie fresh and effective for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Cal Heeter has played well in the AHL this season, but the Flyers cannot be sure he'd be reliable even as a backup in these important games. He is 25 and has never played in an NHL game during his career.
Having Emery back and healthy would help spell Mason and keep him fresh the rest of the way. Then it's up to Mason to play at a consistently high level to help his team qualify for the playoffs.