Ray Emery will start again on Sunday evening when the Blackhawks host the San Jose Sharks.
In starting Emery, coach Joel Quenneville will continue to ride the hot hand. In two starts and a relief appearance that lasted longer than 43 minutes against Phoenix, Emery has a .942 save percentage in December and the Hawks have won both of his starts.
So far this year, Emery’s numbers appear on the surface to be adequate: 5-1-2 record, 2.80 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. Because his role has been limited to serving as the backup to date, a couple rough performances can throw his entire season’s numbers off.
If we remove the Edmonton debacle from his numbers this year, they improve dramatically. In Emery’s six other starts, he has a .914 save percentage and a sub-2.50 goals against average. In fact, Emery has allowed 22 goals in nine appearances this year. If we take the seven-goal Edmonton loss and five-goal loss to the Lightning out of the mix, he has allowed only 10 goals in his other seven appearances.
Before the season we questioned the coaches giving Emery a roster spot. He didn’t have a good preseason, and there were lingering questions about his hip.
Thus far, he has proven us completely wrong. He’s not only been good enough to be on the NHL roster, but might be pressing Corey Crawford for the top spot on the depth chart.