TAMPA, Fla. _ Do not read into anything just because goalie Ray Emery may start two of the season’s final three games for the Flyers, coach Craig Berube said.
Steve Mason, who has been the No. 1 goalie all season, will be his primary netminder in the playoffs.
Berube is going with Emery on Thursday night in Tampa Bay. In a limited sample, Emery has a much better record against the Lightning this season than Mason.
After Thursday, the Flyers face the Penguins on Saturday afternoon.
"The truth is right now, I don’t know who’s going to play in Pittsburgh,” Berube said after Thursday’s morning skate at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. “We’ll have to see what goes on in the game tonight.”
Because he has used Emery against top teams lately, Berube was asked if he was starting to change his mind about who was his No. 1 goalie.
“No. No way. It’s not that at all,” Berube said.
Mason is still his No. 1, Berube said. “We wanted to switch goalies down the stretch to keep them fresh. That’s important,” he said.
Thursday will be Emery’s third start in the last six games, and he will have faced the three toughest opponents during that stretch: St. Louis, Boston and Tampa Bay.
“I don’t think I play Emery against harder opponents,” Berube said. “You guys think deeply, deeper than me. I really don’t look at it like that. I really don’t. A lot of things go into it. That’s the way I look at it.
“Like I’ve said all year long, we need both goalies and they’ve done a great job,” Berube said. “And it’s about being a TEAM, and that’s what we are.”
Mason recorded a 5-2 win over the host Panthers on Tuesday.
“Coming down here to Florida, I had it in my mind what I was gonna do,” Berube said of his goalie rotation. “I wanted to play Mase in Florida, and I wanted to play Ray here. He’s played really well for us against big opponents this year. As I said all year long, this guy’s been a very good goalie for a long time. He took the Ottawa Senators to the finals, won a Cup with Chicago. We had him here and it was unfortunate what happened (injury), but we really liked him at the time. He’s a winner.”
Berube said he wasn’t concerned about Mason’s confidence waning because he hasn’t played as much lately.
“I don’t see why that would hurt his confidence,” he said. “I thought he played a good game in Florida. He’ll get back in there again.”
There will not be a goalie carousel in the playoffs, like in 2011 under Peter Laviolette.
“I’m not Lavy,” Berube said.
Gus in lineup. Berube said defenseman Erik Gutsafsson would probably return to the lineup Thursday because he wants him to get some work to stay sharp. He said he had not decided who would be removed from the lineup.
Andrew MacDonald has been hobbling on a sore foot and is a candidate.
Gustafsson has played just once in the last 19 games.
Breakaways. MacDonald said his agent has been talking to GM Paul Holmgren about an extension; the defenseman said he wants to stay with the Flyers…..Wayne Simmonds is third in the NHL with 14 power-play goals….The Flyers are 20-2-1 when Claude Giroux scores a goal. He is tied for 11th in the NHL with seven game-winning goals….…..When the Flyers won their Cups, they were 15-2-2 in March and April in 1974, and 15-1-1 in those months in 1975.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.