VOORHEES, N.J. – Calling himself a Band-Aid, Ray Emery has held the Philadelphia Flyers together nicely.
Emery will make his third straight start for an injured Steve Mason when the Flyers host the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday night. The Razor was excellent in Sunday’s 4-2 win at Madison Square Garden, making 31 saves to help the Flyers even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
“The more frequently you play, the more comfortable you are in net,” Emery said Monday. “I appreciate being in there in consecutive games. I’m kind of a Band-Aid there while Mase gets better.”
Mason said he won’t dress for the game and his status for the series remains iffy because of an upper-body injury. He shared practice time with Emery on Monday and is hopeful to return Friday night for Game 4.
Mason hasn’t played since he was injured in a collision in the next-to-last game of the regular season on April 12.
“Right now, the way Razor’s playing, there’s no hurry,” Mason said. “He’s the reason we won yesterday, so I think even if I was ready there’s no reason to take him out right now.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube wouldn’t speculate about his goalies.
“Ray is playing next game. That’s it,” Berube said. “That’s where I’m leaving it. There’s nothing really else to talk about. The other guy is not ready, so I’m going to play the guy that is ready. And that’s it.”
Mason was 33-18-7 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season. He helped the Flyers overcome a 1-7 start and coaching change to make the playoffs.
Emery has more playoff experience, however. He helped lead Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007 and was a backup for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks last year.
“Any experience definitely helps,” Emery said. “But seeing a team be successful in the playoffs, seeing the ups and downs a team has to go through to win a championship definitely leads to a positive experience that you can learn from.”
Emery’s win Sunday was his first in the post-season anywhere in exactly three years since a 6-3 victory with Anaheim at Nashville on April 20, 2011. It was Philadelphia’s first road win against the Rangers since Feb. 20, 2011.
Now the series shifts to the Wells Fargo Center where the Rangers will try to wrestle home-ice advantage back from the Flyers. The Rangers were 0-2 in Philadelphia this season, and have dropped four of five there. But New York set a franchise record this season by winning 25 road games.
“It’s going to be a loud building, and they’re going to come,” Rangers centre Brad Richards said. “Our regular season road record doesn’t really matter unless we can win some road games in this series. That’s all we’re really looking at. It doesn’t matter what we did before. Starting tomorrow we need to go in and try and win a game.
The Flyers must be more disciplined against New York. They got away with six penalties in Game 2, killing off five of them.
“We have to be better. We can’t take penalties the way we are,” Berube said. “You’re going to get penalties in a game just because, but you can’t take emotional, dumb ones. It’s going to hurt you.”
The Rangers, who were twice whistled for diving, struggled on the power play and couldn’t get much going after taking an early 2-0 lead Sunday. They were outhustled, and allowed the Flyers to upset their rhythm. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist gave up three goals on 24 shots, excluding the empty-netter at the end.
Eleven skaters took part in New York’s optional practice at the Garden, including Richards, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, Dominic Moore, Dan Carcillo, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Justin Falk and Raphael Diaz, and backup goalie Cam Talbot.
“They come out a little different (at home), and we know they’re a pretty good home team, play well in front of their fans,” Boyle said. “It’s going to be a pretty fun atmosphere, and we’re a pretty good road team. Should be fun.”
AP Sports Writer Ira Podell in New York contributed to this report.