VOORHEES Physically, Steve Mason was standing between the pipes last Saturday night, the last time he saw action in a game.

Mentally, he was far from Sunrise, Fla., where the Flyers lost 7-1 and he allowed four goals in 6:46. His mind was on other things.

“I didn’t handle Saturday very well, didn’t play well,” said Mason, who left the team after Sunday’s practice for a family medical emergency that began last weekend. “I don’t want to get into details on it, but I definitely didn’t handle myself well enough to play well for the team.”

The goalie returned Friday, taking part in a full practice for the first time since last Sunday. He was in his regular starter’s net and looked sharp through drills.

“It’s good to see him around the guys,” said R.J. Umberger, who was also a teammate in Columbus with Mason. “The things that’s going on with him in his personal life, to be around the group is a way that you can relieve that. When you’re at the rink you can just be a kid and play hockey and people aren’t going to know the full details of what’s going on with him, but we have a group of guys here, a team that’s supporting him. He’s one of our brothers.”

In Mason’s absence, Michal Neuvirth has been nearly perfect. He allowed three goals in relief of Mason last Saturday, but hasn’t allowed one to get by him in a game since. He’s riding a shutout streak of 132:05.