Philadelphia starter Steve Mason will miss Game 1 with an upper-body injury and backup Ray Emery will get the call. His last playoff start was Apr. 24, 2011 in a 4-2 loss that knocked Emery and the Anaheim Ducks out of the playoffs.
While it’s been a while since his last postseason start, Emery is an accomplished and experienced goalie in the playoffs. He has a 20-15 record in 36 career playoff games and posted a 2.57 goals-against average with a .903 save percentage.
In the regular season, Emery posted a 9-12-2 record with a 2.96 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Mason practiced on Tuesday, but was limited and will not travel with the team to New York for Game 1.
Given that goaltending isn’t the strength of the Flyers team, their game plan heading into the series should not change at all. Philly needs to get shots on New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist with traffic in front and they need to play well on the power play. Special teams will play a huge role in the series, and the Flyers need to stay out of the box.
The Rangers’ strategy should not change either. They need to play fast and establish a forecheck that causes Philly to make mistakes. If there is a silver lining for the Flyers in this situation, it’s that Emery has good numbers against the Rangers. In 10 career games against the blue shirts, Emery has a 7-2-0 record with a 1.87 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Philly will need him to play great tomorrow night, as the Flyers go for their first win in Madison Square Garden since 2011.