VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was back at practice Monday at Skate Zone, but don’t expect to see him back in net in a game until at least the weekend.
Emery says he’s feeling better from his groin pull, but he’s not ready to play yet and needs more time.
Coach Craig Berube said Steve Mason will make his sixth straight start Tuesday when the Flyers host the New Jersey Devils. That will also be Mason’s 12th start in 13 games.
“I felt good, I skated yesterday, and today felt better than yesterday,” Emery said. “It’s on the right track.”
Emery attempted to practice last Monday, but quickly pulled himself off the ice because he said he felt uncomfortable.
This time was much better.
The Flyers' goaltender has been rehabbing a groin pull since pulling himself in the third period of a 7-3 loss to San Jose on Feb. 27.
Emery did some light practice on his own Sunday when the Flyers had an off day.
The Flyers have a crucial week ahead with three Metropolitan Division games. Following the Devils encounter, they meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in a home-and-home series this weekend.
Berube seems reluctant to give current backup Cal Heeter a start given the significance of the games in a stretch run to the playoffs.
“He looked pretty good out there and he’ll get re-evaluated,” Berube said of Emery. “It’s more about him getting comfortable. He’s got some practice time this week. After [Tuesday] we don’t play until Saturday."
With the Rangers' 3-0 win Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings, Alain Vigneault’s team has now pulled a point ahead of the Flyers into second place in the division (74 points), with Berube’s club dropping to third.
After the Flyers meet the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday, the NHL schedule intensifies with seven games over the final 15 days of March.
Berube said there is no need to rest Mason this week with the gaps between games.
“It gets busy after this weekend,” he said.
By then, Berube is hoping Emery will be ready to get some games in.
Forward Steve Downie, who missed Saturday’s game in Toronto with the flu, was back at practice and skating on Sean Couturier’s line with Matt Read.
“It was a 24-hour thing. I feel pretty good now,” Downie said.
Michael Raffl took Downie’s spot on his line but dropped back down to the fourth line Monday with Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall.