A lot of questions surround the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending situation heading into the 2009-10 NHL season. Like will Ray Emery be able to keep his head on straight? Can Razor be the goalie he once was in Ottawa? Is he capable of taking this team to the promise land?
The beginning of answering those questions began on Wednesday night as the Flyers kicked off their preseason in Detroit, losing 3-1 to the defending Western Conference champions. Sugar Ray got his first start with the Flyers, and his first NHL game action since he last played in the 2007-08 season.
Emery played the first two periods against the Red Wings, and made 23 stops on 25 shots. He wasn't tested much in the opening stanza, however the tests came in the second. Emery faced 19 shots on goal during the second period, and made 17 saves.
Kris Draper tied the game at one around halfway into the middle period when he cashed in on a rebound left by Emery. Jamie Tardif pushed Detroit ahead 2-1 with 1:52 left to play in the period with a one-timer from Justin Abdelkader.
In the end, Emery had a solid preseason debut for the Orange and Black.
Brian Boucher finished the game in goal for the Flyers, stopping nine of ten shots. His only blemish was a tap-in goal by Jeremy Williams after a scramble in front of the net 3:35 into the last period.
James van Riemsdyk made another good impression, this time in a preseason game against one of the leagues' best teams. Van Riemsdyk, who came off a five-point scrimmage to close out rookie camp last week, scored the Flyers lone goal in the opening period.
JVR beat Wings' starting goalie Jimmy Howard with a wrister from the left circle just 3:26 into the second. Van Riemsdyk is in contention for a roster spot, but with Blair Betts, and Mika Pyorala impressing in camp, van Riemsdyk may play half the season in the American Hockey League.
Pronger also made his debut in the Flyers uniform as he logged 26:06 minutes in his first game action since losing to these same Wings in the playoffs last year while with the Anaheim Ducks.
You could see that he was moving bodies out of the way of Emery, something that the Flyers desperately needed last year, and that's one of the biggest assets he'll add to the team.
The Flyers will travel to London, Ontario to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs later on tonight. Tonight's game will be televised on the NHL Network at 7:00 PM.
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