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Ray Emery Inching Closer to Return with Flyers

Mark RitterSenior Writer IJanuary 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02:  Ray Emery #29 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 2, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won the game 6-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter

NHL.com is reporting that the Philadelphia Flyers are set to loan goaltender Ray Emery to their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, for conditioning purposes.

Emery, who has been sidelined with a tear in his abdominal region, has missed 16 games. The Flyers went into a downward spiral when Emery went down, highlighted by a seven-game losing streak in mid December.

Emery played well enough to keep the Flyers in the game on most nights and gave the team a certain level of confidence when he was between the pipes. Emery, who is expected to rejoin the Flyers on Sunday, put together a record of 11-8-1 with a 2.83 goals against average and a .901 save percentage before getting injured.

Emery’s return could go a long way towards bringing back the Flyers swagger and confidence. That said, the team has looked good recently, posting a 6-3-1 record in their past 10 games (6-1-1 in their past eight) and scoring six or more goals in three out of the past five games.

Unlike December, which was full of tough matchups for the Flyers, January offers the Flyers an opportunity to make up some ground in the standings with matches against some of the NHL’s more beatable teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, and New York Islanders.

Given the Flyers’ mediocre record in December, it is imperative for the orange and black to beat the likes of the aforementioned teams. Through 43 games, the Flyers sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The good news for the Flyers is that they have three games in hand over the Canadiens and they are within striking distance of both the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers. Both teams sit two points ahead of the Flyers in the standings and the Flyers have a game in hand on both as well.

The Flyers strong skating and increased work ethic has gone a long way in turning this team's fortunes around. It’s an important week for the Flyers and, given the traffic jam in the Eastern Conference standings, it’s a week that will likely have a huge impact on the Flyers playoffs fortunes.

Until next time,

Peace!