Skip to main content

Flyers to give Emery start against Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- From a plot perspective, Ray Emery's return to the Windy City couldn't have worked out any better.

The Chicago Blackhawks (22-6-5), with whom Emery won the 2013 Stanley Cup, are playing with a rookie in net because of lower-body injuries sidelining top goalie Corey Crawford and backup Nikolai Khabibulin (signed over the summer to replace Emery).

The Blackhawks could probably use a proven veteran like Emery during the next couple weeks, despite Antti Raanta making an impressive start to his NHL career with a 4-0-1 record, 2.14 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

Instead, Emery will be in net for the Philadelphia Flyers (13-14-3) on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

"Ray's been good for us this year and we use him, but it's good to get him in this game tonight," Flyers coach Craig Berube said following his team's morning skate. "He had a great year last year with [Chicago] and won a Cup, so he's looking forward to it."

After celebrating the championship in Chicago, Emery signed with Philadelphia hoping to earn a starting role. He's settled into the backup role again, this time to Steve Mason, but isn't pouting about it.

Emery declined to speak to reporters Wednesday morning but talked about returning to Chicago with the Philadelphia media while in Ottawa this past weekend.

"Yeah, I stay in touch with the guys,” Emery said, according to "I love the city. We had a good season last year. A game is a game, and you want to focus on that game. You appreciate the year and with a championship season, you have time to celebrate that during the summer, and I am kind of past that and want to do well here."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville named Raanta his starter Wednesday. Raanta's backup is rookie Kent Simpson, who was called up Monday from Rockford of the American Hockey League.

Raanta started and picked up a win Tuesday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center and Simpson has yet to make his NHL debut.

Raanta signed with Chicago last summer after winning MVP in the Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga). He's getting the first shot at replacing Crawford, who is out up to three weeks or more, but it's a fluid situation.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman met with reporters in Dallas on Tuesday and said the situation will be assessed as it progresses to see if a veteran needs to be signed or a trade needs to be explored.

Had Emery stuck around, the job and the bulk of playing time would belong to him. He's just not spending much time thinking about what-if possibilities.

"I've played for a few teams before," Emery told CSNPhilly. "Here in Ottawa and Philly and Chicago. I try to stay focused on my season and where I am at, at that point and not look too far [beyond that]."

Since Crawford left Sunday night with 6:15 to play in the first period against the Florida Panthers, the Blackhawks have made Raanta's job pretty enjoyable. They've scored 10 goals in the past 105:45 with Raanta in net, leading to 6-2 victories in each game, including Tuesday against the Stars.

Chicago, which leads the NHL in goals scored (122), has scored five or more goals 13 times, also first in the League. The Blackhawks have outshot their opponent in 24 of the first 33 games.

Here is how the Flyers and Blackhawks might line up Wednesday:


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Steve Downie

Jay Rosehill - Adam Hall - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Luke Schenn - Andrej Meszaros

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson, Tye McGinn

Injured: Vincent Lecavalier (back)


Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Kris Versteeg - Michal Handzus - Patrick Kane

Brandon Saad - Andrew Shaw - Jeremy Morin

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Sheldon Brookbank

Antti Raanta

Kent Simpson

Scratched: Michal Rozsival, Michael Kostka

Injured: Bryan Bickell (lower body), Corey Crawford (lower body), Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body)

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.