A familiar face is rejoining the Flyers to provide insurance in net as the playoff push hits its stretch run.
The team announced on Tuesday evening that free-agent goalie Ray Emery has joined the club on a tryout basis and will report to morning skate before Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center.
General manager Ron Hextall said signing a goalie was a necessity because Lehigh Valley goalie Jason LaBarbera will miss the rest of the season with an injury and that he had been working on bringing in Emery "for a few days" now.
"We felt like had to have a little bit of depth," Hextall said Tuesday. "Ray happened to be available and was willing to come in on a tryout.
"This just gives us a guy in house that can be on ice, can practice and be sharp if need be."
With Michal Neuvirth on the shelf with a knee injury, Steve Mason started his sixth straight game on Monday night and his 11th in the last 12 contests. In Neuvirth's absence, second-year pro Anthony Stolarz has been serving as Mason's backup but has yet to appear in a game.
The Flyers are tied with the Detroit Red Wings with 87 points but sit atop the Red Wings for the final wild-card spot by virtue of having a game in hand. Both teams are four points behind the New York Islanders for the first wild-card spot in the East after the Islanders topped the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
With the last seven games of the season, including three back-to-back sets, coming in a 13-day stretch, Mason may need a breather for a game or two at some point.
But Hextall said the Emery signing does not affect Stolarz's position as Mason's backup.
"[Emery] is an insurance policy for the rest of the regular season given how thin we've gotten with the two injuries," Hextall said. "We truly don't have a third guy in the organization right now and two guys down with injuries.
"We were looking at who was available and who might come in and Ray made sense."
This will be Emery's third stint with the Flyers.
He was the team's original starter in 2009-10, but his season ended early with what, at the time, was viewed as a career-threatening hip injury.
After winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, he came back to Philadelphia before the 2013-14 season and spent two seasons as Mason's backup. Emery even started the first three games of the Flyers' first-round playoff series loss to the New York Rangers in 2014 as Mason recovered from a concussion suffered during the last week of the regular season. He went 1-2 in those starts.
After leaving the Flyers this past summer, Emery has bounced around the AHL affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs on similar tryouts and spent time with the Manheim Eagles of the German Elite League.
In his career with the Flyers, Emery has a 35-34-10 record with a 2.88 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and five shutouts.
Hextall confirmed Emery is ineligible for the postseason after joining the Flyers so late in the season. He also confirmed that Emery will stay with the big club if the tryout is successful.
While talking about Emery on Tuesday, Hextall updated the status of Neuvirth, who hasn't played since March 16's 3-2 win in Chicago.
"He's on schedule and he's doing well," Hextall said. "We're hoping that he skates at some point in the next five or six days and then just progress him from there.
"I think the end of this season is probably a stretch at this point."
So it's the Mason and (maybe) Stolarz show as the games get more and more important down the stretch.