Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flyers' Emery to start Game 3; Mason aiming for Fri.

If the man they call Razor wasn't sharp in the nets, goalie Steve Mason implied, he would be more apt rush back and return as the Flyers' starter.

Flyers' Emery to start Game 3; Mason aiming for Fri.


If the man they call Razor wasn't sharp in the nets, goalie Steve Mason implied, he would be more apt rush back and return as the Flyers' starter.

But Ray Emery has arguably been the Flyers' best player in the first two playoff games against the New York Rangers, and he will start Game 3 Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, with Cal Heeter as his backup. The series is tied at one win apiece.

Because Emery was playing so well, Mason said there was no reason to rush back from an upper-body injury. He said he was aiming to play Friday in Game 4.

"Right now, the way Razor's playing, there's no hurry," Mason said. "He's the reason we won yesterday. I think even if I was ready, there's no reason to take him out now."

Emery has seized the opportunity.

"It's the best time of the year; it's been a while since I got to play in a playoff series," said Emery, whose 4-2 win Sunday was his first playoff victory in exactly three years.

Late last season, Emery injured his groin, costing him a chance to be the playoff starter for Chicago. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was so hot in the post-season that Emery never got into a game after he regained his health. After a regular season in which he went 17-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average, he was the backup goalie in the playoffs, watchingthe Blackhawks win the Cup.

"I just want to fill in the best I can," Emery said of his playoff appearances with the Flyers. "I'm kind of a Band-Aid there while Mase gets better."

Repeating a common refrain lately, Mason said he was "doing a little better than yesterday, so it's a step in the right direction."

Mason took part in the Flyers' optional practice Monday in Voorhees; he said playing in Game 4 Friday was his "next target" and that he was "getting closer and closer to being 100 percent."

The 6-foot-4 Mason said he hasn't enjoyed watching the first two games from the pressbox.

"It's somewhere I envisioned myself when I'm 40 years old and not 25," he said. "It sucks watching, but at the same time, it's nice to see the team win yesterday and come back with the home-ice advantage."

Mason was asked why he made his decision not to play Tuesday so early.

"You know how you feel when  you're done practice," he said. "And I feel good with the goaltending part of practice, and there are other things affecting the decision."

The implication: Mason would be more apt to try to play Tuesday if Emery was struggling.

If Emery was not playing well, Mason admitted, "there could be a little more urgency" for him to return. "But we don't have to cross that bridge because he's playing great."

As for his recovery, Mason said "some days are really good and others aren't great. Today was better."


Inquirer Staff Writer
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