Flyers goalie Emery (surprise, surprise) to face Chicago

Flyers goalie Ray Emery. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

In a surprising move, Ray Emery will start for the first time since Feb. 8 when the Flyers host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said he wanted to give Steve Mason a breather after starting him in eight straight games, including back-to-back wins against the Penguins over the weekend.

In the Flyers' 7-2 loss in Chicago on Dec. 11, Emery was shelled for six goals on 18 shots and removed from the game against his ex-teammates.

Berube said he wasn't starting Emery to give him a chance to redeem himself against his former club.

"It wasn't that at all; we didn't help him out there at all, but that wasn't (the reason for) my decision to play him tonight," Berube said. "Mase played a bunch of games in a row, we're coming off back-to-backs, and we didn't have practice yesterday. Ray's rested and ready to go."

Emery will be playing for the first time since Feb. 27, when he injured his groin in a relief performance, an eventual 7-3 loss to San Jose.

"Mase played eight games in a row, and he (Emery) got healthy and looked good, and that's what we decided to do," Berube said.

Emery's last start was a 32-save effort in a 2-1 victory over Calgary on Feb. 8.

In 22 appearances, Emery is 7-9-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.

Chicago will also use its backup goalie Tuesday. Antti Raanta, who has a 12-3-3 record, a 2.44 GAA and .904 save percentage, will get the call. The Blackhawks are saving Corey Crawford for Wednesday's home game against St. Louis.

The Flyers are a much stronger team than the one that was embarrassed by the Blackhawks three-plus months ago.

"We know they're a different team now," Chicago winger Patrick Kane said. "We don't expect a 7-2 game, or whatever. They're playing really well right now and probably one of the hottest teams in the league, especially coming off the weekend they had with Pittsburgh."

Since the start of February, the Flyers are 9-2-1, while the Blackhawks are 6-5-1.

Breakaways. During the morning skate, Kane said he was reliving his shot that won the Cup against the Flyers at the WFC in 2010. "There's a poster of a law firm on the wall now" where he fired the shot that beat Michael Leighton, Kane said. "It's pretty cool walking into the rink. This is the area we were all celebrating after it happened."....Chicago, which is playing just its second game in Philly since the 2010 Finals, has lost nine straight regular season games at the WFC since 1996....Matt Read is tied for the NHL lead with four shorthanded goals.....The Blackhawks are tied for the league's third-best PP (20.8 percent success rate) and are tied for No. 21 (80.6) on the PK; the Flyers are tied for No. 10 on the PP (20.1) and are eighth on the PK (84.2).

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.