Flyers

Flyers bring in veteran goalie Ray Emery on tryout basis

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Flyers bring in veteran goalie Ray Emery on tryout basis

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.

Neuvirth update
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.

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

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Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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