-- Everyone was wondering how once-fiery Philadelphia Flyers
goalie Ray Emery would play in his first game against his old team.
Emery led the Ottawa Senators
to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final but was bought out by the team at the end of the next season, one that was marred by Emery's maturity and emotional issues.
Emery was great, making 22 saves, and Danny Briere
scored twice in his first game after missing four games with an injury and the flu as the Flyers beat the Senators, 5-1, Thursday at the Wachovia Center.
The victory gave the Flyers their first five-game winning streak since Dec. 6-16, 2008.
"On this team, I know we're going to get our goals and I just have to do my part," Emery said. "It's a good situation to be in. I think you could see out there that we played an amazing defensive game."
Briere, James van Riemsdyk
, Darroll Powe and Blair Betts
scored for the Flyers, while Mike Fisher had Ottawa's lone goal. Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen
each had two assists for the Flyers.
Briere in particular was happy for Emery.
"There was a lot of talk in the last couple of days about him facing the Senators for the first time," Briere said. "I'm sure it will be there again when we go back to Ottawa. We're happy for him. He's been playing well and he's a great teammate."
Flyers coach John Stevens wasn't surprised by Emery's sharp performance. He has seen a player dedicated to resurrecting his career take a calm and confident approach in his work since the Flyers signed him on July 1.
"I think this element of trust with Ray and his teammates and with the coaching staff and with new players takes time but I really sense that the team believes in Ray," Stevens said. "When he gets into a situation like tonight, I think there's a little more urgency in their play to get the win for him."
Emery is now 10-3-1 with a 2.18 GAA and .924 save percentage, ranking among the League leaders.
The Senators played a feisty game through two periods but were left scratching their heads after the Flyers scored three times in the third period to break open a tight game.
The Flyers scored twice in the second period on power-play goals by Betts and van Riemsdyk. Clouston said his team was also hurt by taking five penalties to the Flyers' two.
"Our power play tonight wasn't by the book. 'Bettsie' had a goal there at the end of a power play, just won a puck race," Stevens said. "Same thing on the other goal, they put the puck in deep because they were pressing up and Jeff used his speed to get in."
It was the first time in the past four games the Flyers had their first line of Carter centering van Riemsdyk and Briere, who injured his right quadriceps Oct. 27 against Washington and then caught the flu. Van Riemsdyk was struck on his right pinkie by a Carter shot Saturday against St. Louis. The shot exploded his fingertip, requiring 20 stitches. He didn't miss a game.
Stevens, Briere and van Riemsdyk all credited Carter's hustle for the line's dominating performance. A 46-goal scorer last season, Carter has only six this year but leads the Flyers with 17 points. The Flyers are confident the goals will come and they're pleased he's dominating opponents in other ways.
"He does so many other things that can help your team win," Stevens said. "It's not just the shots that go into the net. I thought he was instrumental on a couple of those goals, just be doing what he does. He skates hard. He was a good defender tonight, hard on the puck. He used his speed to get to areas where he could get the puck to the net and it resulted in goals."
"James and I are going to the net, getting to the crease because we know we're going to get a lot of chances playing with Jeff," Briere said.
Betts scored the opening goal, his first of the season, at 9:28 of the second period when he chased Claude Giroux
's dump-in. Betts took the rebound off the boards and fired it from close range off the back of Pascal Leclaire's leg. Chris Pronger
's pass started the play up ice.
The Senators drew even, 1-1, at 14:47 on a power play resulting from Betts's cross-checking penalty when Alex Kovalev, working the right half boards, found Fisher all alone to Emery's left. Fisher's backhand to the far side eluded Emery.
Jarkko Ruutu then took a hooking penalty with 3:57 left in the second and the Flyers quickly regained the lead 20 seconds later. Timonen sent Carter down the right side and he carried deep toward the net, pulling Leclaire to him, and then fired a pass across the front of the net to van Riemsdyk waiting on the left side. The rookie scored his fourth goal by sliding the puck under the stick of Filip Kuba
and past the scrambling, out-of-position goalie.
That gave van Riemsdyk the rookie scoring lead with 15 points, one ahead of New York Islanders center John Tavares and Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly.
Shortly after another Flyers power play expired, Timonen sent Carter splitting the Ottawa defense and then to his right for a sharply angled shot that Leclaire blocked out into the slot where Briere knocked it out of the air and into the net.
The romp was on when Arron Asham set up Powe in the middle for a wrist shot that eluded Leclaire on the right side at 11:47. Pronger's outlet pass sent Asham away.
Briere showed how good defense sets up offense when he got back deep into his own zone to clear a rebound and then chased it up the right side. Briere's snap shot whistled past Leclaire on the far side for the final goal.