The Flyers turn up the pressure after a lackluster first period
Ray Emery on Thursday made 29 saves and allowed just one goal in the Flyers' 4-1 win over the Sabres. (USA Today Images)
These aren’t easy games for a goaltender to get comfortable between the pipes. Not when your team is throwing a season-high 46 shots at the other net.
Not when there are long gaps between seeing shots coming at you.
Not when there are 14 penalties and 12 power plays and it becomes a special teams battle.
And not when the goalie is making just his sixth start in 21 games.
Ray Emery handled all things well -- again -- with 29 saves during Thursday’s 4-1 win over Buffalo (see story), as the Flyers hit the quarter mark of the season (21 games).
Emery said all the special teams action caught and held his attention.
“When we’re shorthanded and watching the other guy [Ryan Miller] make some big saves when they’re starting in the other end, you know you’ve got to be sharp when it gets to your end,” he said.
“I thought we had a good start. Miller made some really good saves at the start, then they got a funny one. After that we kept at it and only got a couple in the second. We kept coming at them and had the win.”
Emery evened his record at 3-3.
“After a tough start, it’s nice to climb back to even,” Emery said. “It’s always like a fresh start when you get there. It’s encouraging as a team. We’re playing better. We’re getting the points we need to.”
Buffalo’s only goal was off a scrum when it was pretty difficult to find the puck among a pile of bodies in the crease, let alone stop the shot.
“[Emery] was solid again,” said Flyers coach Craig Berube. “He has done a really good job. He is a very good goalie and wins a lot of games. He goes in there and wins games.”
On the playoffs
The Flyers went into the game two points out of a playoff spot. They are back in the hunt and have been for over a week now.
“I never thought about it at all,” Berube said. “I am going to take it one day at a time. We’re going to come out tomorrow and practice and we’re going to work to get better.”
Was that because there was simply so much work to be done that being a playoff team was the last thing on the coach's mind?
“You have to keep working at it,” Berube replied. “If you want to become a really good team in this league, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of preparation and it takes playing the same way every shift, going out there and playing the same way every shift. So, you have to stay on it.”
Jakub Voracek played just 14:03 and had just five shifts and less than four minutes ice time in the third period. Berube said Voracek wasn’t hurt. He said he wanted to get Adam Hall out there for his defense and having another centerman on draws. Hall is the Flyers' best faceoff guy (63 percent), though he only took three draws in the game. … The Flyers had a season-high 46 shots, giving them back-to-back games of 40 or more shots for the first time since Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, 2010, when they had 41 shots at New Jersey and 41 shots at home against Boston, respectively. ... Zac Rinaldo had six hits in just 6:21 ice time. ... The Flyers scored a power-play goal for the fifth consecutive game. Alas, they also allowed a power-play goal for the fourth consecutive game.