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Emery to start in Game 1 at New York on Thursday

Flyers head coach announces that Steve Mason is out of the line-up and Cal Heeter will back up Emery in series opener

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 2:22 PM ET / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Emery to start in Game 1 at New York on Thursday

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Ray Emery will start in goal for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday in Game 1 of their First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET, CSN, CNBC, TSN & 97.5 The Fanatic) at Madison Square Garden.

Starting goaltender Steve Mason is out with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He remains listed as day to day. Flyers coach Craig Berube said Mason will not travel with the team to New York on Wednesday afternoon and instead stay behind to receive treatment.

Berube had said Tuesday he expected Mason to join the Flyers for practice Wednesday but Mason never made it to the Flyers' practice facility. Mason was on the ice for about 40 minutes Tuesday, but most of that time was spent doing individual work with goalie coach Jeff Reese. He spent about 15 minutes with the full team.

"He [Mason] just didn't feel good," Berube said Wednesday. "It's precautionary. We're doing what we can to help him do what's best. ... He's a day-to-day thing. Not ready to go. That's it. He's not ready to go, so he's not playing."

Despite losing the starting goaltender at the start of the postseason, Berube said the mindset is to keep marching forward.

"It's not disappointing," he said. "It's part of the game sometimes. Things happen. We have other people. We're a team. We've been a team all year. That doesn't change.

"Good teams find ways to get it done."

Emery has found ways to get it done in the postseason. He backstopped the Ottawa Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final and was Corey Crawford's backup last season when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

In 36 career playoff games, Emery is 20-15 with a 2.57 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and three shutouts.

"I get excited to play in these situations, especially the playoffs, especially with a group like this," Emery said.

In 28 regular-season games Emery went 9-12-2 with a 2.96 GAA and .903 save percentage. Included in those numbers was a 31-save effort in a 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 12.

For his career, however, Emery is 7-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA and .936 save percentage in 10 games against the Rangers.

Regardless of the numbers, the Flyers remain confident in whichever goaltender plays.

"We have a lot of confidence in them," captain Claude Giroux said. "They played some big games for us this year. ... [Emery] has some experience in the playoffs, he's won a Cup."

Defenseman Mark Streit said nothing changes in his job description regardless of who is in net.

"For me it doesn't change anything in the game," he said. "You've got to talk to the goalie and the goalie's got to talk to you. If you do it on a consistent basis it makes the game that much easier."

With Emery starting, rookie Calvin Heeter inherits the backup role. Heeter made his first NHL start in the regular-season finale against the Carolina Hurricanes. He allowed four goals on the first 14 shots he faced but recovered to hold the Hurricanes to one goal over the final 24:43 of regulation and overtime in what ended as a 6-5 shootout loss.

"It's important he got a game for sure," Berube said. "I think he definitely will feel more comfortable for sure."

Berube said he feels comfortable with his goaltending situation.

"Ray went to the [2007 Stanley Cup] Final with Ottawa and he was a starting goalie," Berube said. "He's been around. He's a very good goalie. ... He was in the playoffs last year, backing up Corey Crawford, and they won a Cup. He's done it all."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 51 16 28 -6 44
J. Voracek 51 8 34 -1 42
W. Simmonds 51 18 16 -6 34
B. Schenn 49 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 33 9 18 4 27
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 50 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 51 4 10 -6 14
M. Del Zotto 49 4 9 -9 13
M. Raffl 51 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .916 2.69
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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