NEW YORK -- Shortly after his team was eliminated from the playoffs, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason admitted that it was indeed a concussion that caused him to miss the beginning of the series.
He also said he was experiencing headaches until the night before Game 4, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, meaning his relief appearance in Game 3 came while he was still experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
"Yeah, it was a concussion," Mason confirmed after making 29 saves in his team's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden.
Mason sustained the concussion in the second period April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 25-year-old netminder did not play in Games 1 and 2 against the Rangers before coming on in relief late in Game 3. Mason made his first start of the series in Game 4.
Mason started the final four games of the series, going 2-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
He kept the Flyers in Game 7 when he stopped 16 of 18 shots he faced in the second period -- many of them highlight-worthy saves.
"I just tried to calm it down and make the saves I was able to make," Mason said. "I hoped to weather the storm, but they were able to capitalize."
Mason established himself as Philadelphia's No. 1 goaltender during the regular season, going 33-18-7 with a 2.50 GAA and a .917 save percentage. He signed a three-year, $12.3 million contract extension in mid-January.
"That was my goal coming into the year, and overall I was proud of what I was able to accomplish," Mason said. "But when you come out on the losing end of a seven-game series, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. But that's gonna be enough motivation going forward into the summertime, and I'm looking forward to building with the group of guys that we have. We have such a great core. The fan base has something to look forward to."