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Emery's Ray of Hope Now Clouded

With a lot of questions about how he would perform, Ray Emery had an unbelievable start to the season. For his first five regular season periods in the orange and black, Emery was perfect. He stopped the first fifty shots he faced. Through the first 110 minutes of the season, he had a 0.00 GAA and a 100% save percentage. None too shabby.

But since the floodgates opened, the goals have been pouring in. Going back to the third period of the New Jersey game, Ray Emery has had a 5.14 GAA and a lowly 82.8% save percentage. There's no sugar coating those numbers--that's some seriously sub-par goaltending.

I know Emery has done a lot of things right this season. He's staying square to the shooter, maintaining decent rebound control, fighting for position in traffic, and coming out to challenge the cut down angles. But it could be a lot better.

After the jump, a nauseatingly detailed, goal-by-goal breakdown of what Emery has been doing wrong, with video clips of all twelve goals he's allowed.

Here we go:

Devils' 1st -- Brian Rolston

Emery had gone for almost 110 minutes without letting one by, and when one finally snuck through it wasn't a bad one. Rolston fired an absolute rocket high blocker side on Emery, which lasered past him before he had a chance to react properly. The reaction he did have was to drop to his butterfly, which, while a decent percentage play, was totally ineffective on this shot. From that distance it may have been better to have stayed upright, but there's no real faulting what he did.

Devils' 2nd -- Jamie Langenbrunner

This was just poor awareness of positioning. Emery drifted too far to the left as Langenbrunner came in, leaving a big opening stick side. That type of error should be pretty easy to fix with practice and growing familiarity with the sightlines of NHL rinks.

Capitals 1st -- Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin takes clear advantage of the same weakness Langenbrunner spotted, waiting until Emery is pulled wide then shooting it far side. Emery was even more out of position for this one, meaning that he also would have been totally out of luck if Ovechkin had passed to his teammate in the middle instead. This carbon copy of Emery's previous goal allowed makes me think Ovechkin did his homework with the Devils-Flyers gametape.

Capitals' 2nd -- Alex Ovechkin

Not much Emery could have done with this one. Pronger's turnover set up an extremely short breakaway for Ovechkin, giving Emery with almost no time to react. This one's all on Pronger.

Capitals' 3rd -- Alexander Semin More of the attention on this goal went to how Coburn got schooled, but Emery looked equally clueless on this one. Emery was well squared to the shooter, but then inexplicably dropped to one knee and kicked out his left leg, leaving his five-hole absurdly open. Semin was coming straight at him, so a butterfly (or simply keeping his skates together) should have been the way to go.

Capitals' 4th -- Alexander Semin

The spin move Semin pulls off here is nuts. Having that unclear a release point on a shot through traffic results in a shot Emery had little chance at.

Capitals' 5th -- Brendan Morrison

Hard, low shot, so rebound control is gonna be tough. But if Emery could have gotten his stick on it to deflect it into a corner, that would have been better. But all in all, not a real weak goal.

Penguins' 1st -- Evgeni Malkin

The velocity on this shot, and the fact that Parent only really got out of the way at the last second makes it pretty excusable. Was it stoppable? Yes. But it would have been a pretty extraordinary save.

Penguins' 2nd -- Jordan Staal

This was a real pretty move from Jordan Staal, but the sequence that led to the move was initiated by an extremely ill-advised poke check by Emery. The general rule in a breakaway situation is that, between the goalie and shooter, whichever makes the first move will be the one to fail. Emery telegraphs his pokecheck extremely early, long before Staal is within poking range. Staal has plenty of time to circumvent to the committed Emery, and comfortably backhands the puck into the net. Another ill-advised breakaway play by Emery.

Penguins' 3rd -- Bill Guerin

This is the same crap move Emery pulled on Semin's first goal, but worse since he clearly did not learn from his mistake. Emery comes out to challenge the shot, and though he successfully takes away the sides of the net through good positioning, when the shot comes he makes this inexplicable move to slightly kick out his left skate, turning his left leg to the side and freezing himself with his legs agape. Not only does it leave a ridiculous amount of daylight in the five-hole region (where Guerin has to be looking because of how well Emery took away the other options), it leaves him flat-footed in the event a rebound had squirted out. His stick also is not perpendicular to the ice but instead is sloped up, meaning that if the puck had hit the stick it would have continued on into the net anyhow. A much sounder play would have been a conventional butterfly. This marriage proposal-esque pose has got to go.

Penguins' 4th -- Braydon Coburn

Shades of Steve Smith and Grant Fuhr on this one. Clearly Coburn takes 99.9% of the blame on this one, but ideally Emery would be paying slightly more attention, would have his right leg inside the post, and would have his stick on the ice facing the play. These kind of goals don't happen when the goalie is 100% locked into the game. But again, Coburn is the obvious scapegoat.

Penguins' 5th -- Tyler Kennedy

A very pretty goal by a very piggish looking fellow. Emery really had no chance on this one, as Matt Cooke sent a perfect pass to an open Tyler Kennedy, who one-timed it into the far side of the net. That one falls on Kimmo Timonen for letting Kennedy crash the net like that.