Sunday, December 28, 2014

Flyers still mum on goalie; will it matter against Caps?

With goalie Michael Leighton's nine-game, regulation unbeaten streak stopped, Sunday seems like the perfect time for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to give Ray Emery the start against host Washington.

Flyers still mum on goalie; will it matter against Caps?

   With goalie Michael Leighton's nine-game, regulation unbeaten streak stopped, Sunday seems like the perfect time for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to give Ray Emery the start against host Washington.

    But Laviolette refused to announce his starter after Saturday's practice in Voorhees.

    "Decisions are still being made; we'll probably sit on this until game time, for you guys anyway," Laviolette said.

   The game will be played at the Verizon Center at 3 p.m.

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   In Laviolette's debut as the Flyers' coach, his team was embarrassed by visiting Washington, 8-2, on Dec. 5. The Caps dominated even though superstar Alex Ovechkin was serving a suspension and did not play.

   Emery took more reps in practice Saturday than Leighton or Brian Boucher.

  Leighton has made 11 straight starts, during which he is 8-1-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

   Sparked by Ovechkin (29 goals), Nicklas Backstrom (19) and Alexander Semin (19), Washington leads the NHL with an average of 3.68 goals per game. The Caps have scored almost a half goal more per game than Chicago, the league's second-highest scoring team.

    The Flyers are coming off Thursday's 4-0 loss in Toronto, a game that snapped their four-game winning streak.

     "We're definitely going to play a different game than we played in Toronto," Leighton said. "We all know we didn't battle as hard as we thought we could. We just have to come out, have a good start and go from there."

    Emery hasn't played since the 8-2 loss to Washington on Dec. 5 _ four days before he had abdominal surgery.

   After yesterday's practice, Emery said he would feel comfortable facing the Caps because "I know a lot of their guys and know their tendencies."

    As for the three-goalie system, GM Paul Holmgren didn't sound enamored by it.

   "Long term, I don't know that it's good, but it is what it is now and we just have to deal with it," he said.

      

Sam Carchidi Inquirer Staff Writer
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