Michal Neuvirth (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Heading into Monday night’s start, Michal Neuvirth hadn’t posted an NHL shutout in more than three and a half years. But thanks in large part to one exceptional sprawling, backhanded glove save, Neuvirth picked up a shutout in his Flyers debut.
Goaltender Steve Mason was supposed to get the call for the Flyers in Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, but news broke in the early afternoon that he would instead be out of the lineup due to a personal matter. With Mason out, Michal Neuvirth was given starting duty for Philadelphia. He didn’t disappoint.
In his first regular season tilt in a Flyers uniform, Neuvirth stopped all 31 shots he faced and led Philadelphia to their first victory of the season — a 1-0 shutout win over the same Panthers who had beaten the Flyers 7-1 just two nights earlier.
Neuvirth was nothing short of spectacular for the Flyers in the victory, but no save highlights that as much as a sprawling backhanded glove stop he made on Panthers left winger Brandon Pirri:
Here’s an even better look at the stop, which saw Neuvirth bend like Gumby:
The Flyers’ acquisition of Neuvirth as a free agent was a necessary one considering the 2014-15 season was a tough one when it came to backup netminders. Mason had one of the best seasons of his career last campaign, Philadelphia’s backup duo of Ray Emery and Rob Zepp left much to be desired. Neither posted save percentages above .900 and they posted a combined record of 15-13-7.
Neuvirth came to the Flyers after a campaign split between the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. In Buffalo, where he played 27 games, Neuvirth went 6-17-3 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .918 SP.
By picking up the shutout for Philadelphia, Neuvirth posted his first NHL clean sheet since March 11, 2012 when he was a member of the Washington Capitals.