Steve Mason shoots for Game 2

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was back on the ice Friday in what appears to be the next step toward his return from an upper-body injury suffered last weekend.

Mason missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the New York Rangers, a 4-1 loss for Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden with backup Ray Emery in goal. The 25-year-old Mason, who practiced for about one hour at a public rink in Manhattan on Friday, said he's feeling better and is eager to return to the lineup.

Will he be ready for Game 2 on Sunday?

"I'll try my best," he said.

Mason, who was said to be suffering whiplash symptoms after a collision forced him out of the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win against the Penguins last Saturday, plans to practice again Saturday before making a decision about his status for Game 2. He said he'll have to receive medical clearance as well before the team allows him to return.

"I'll know when I'm ready to go physically, but it's also management and doctors' decision as well," he said.

Mason would not divulge whether he suffered a concussion against Pittsburgh, though he did say he's sustained two concussions previously in his career. He says his eagerness to jump back into the lineup has been wisely tempered by the team's management and medical staff.

"As a player, you're going to probably say you're ready to go back before you actually are, just because you have that competitive nature," Mason said. "I think for myself, watching Ray last night, I think he played a great game, so that kind of eases the feel of urgency in a sense because he was so strong."

Emery, who is 7-3-0 in his career against the Rangers, was probably the Flyers' best player on the ice for the first two periods Thursday night. He gave up only one goal through the first 48 minutes of play, until a double-minor high-sticking penalty taken by Flyers rookie forward Jason Akeson put the Flyers down a man for four minutes. The Rangers tallied twice on the man-advantage and tagged Emery for another goal before the game was over.

Mason's return may give the Flyers a mental boost more than anything. He has only four games of Stanley Cup playoff experience, when he and the Blue Jackets were swept by Detroit during his rookie season in 2009.

"Getting back into Sunday's game potentially and then going back to the Wells Fargo Center where, by all accounts, is probably the best playoff atmosphere in the league, so that's something as a player you look forward to," Mason said. "I know the guys in the dressing room are looking forward to winning on Sunday and getting back home and going from there."