Emery shooting for Stars

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:36 AM ET

DALLAS -- Ray Emery wants to get on a roll.

The Senators goalie said yesterday he's not used to playing the role of backup, doesn't deal well with inactivity and is determined to earn back the No. 1 job.

Emery, who will make his third straight start tonight when Ottawa faces the Stars, isn't happy with his play, even after leading the Senators to a 5-4 victory Wednesday over the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla.

SECOND FIDDLE

While goalie Martin Gerber has received the bulk of the work this season, Emery is well aware he has a chance to take a stranglehold on the job if he can regain the form that made him successful last season.

But, he admits, he needs the chance to stay in the net.

"For me, I've always played. I've never really been a backup besides when (Dominik Hasek) was here for half (of the 2005-06) season," said Emery. "That's the only time in my life I've really sat on the bench. That's how I've learned how to play. That's how I've stayed playing the game."

Emery wouldn't confirm to the Sun that he met with John Paddock to let the coach know he wanted to play more than just the three starts he received last month.

Emery said he's tried to push for his chance to play by being patient.

"That's not my decision. It's theirs," said Emery. "I think it's obvious (that he wants to play). At the same time, you've got to wait your turn or earn your playing time."

Paddock said he hadn't planned on starting Emery in all three games on this trip, but after Gerber was shelled in a 5-2 loss Saturday, the coach felt the Senators needed a change.

"I'm not quite sure what state we were in after the Ranger game," said Paddock. "So I think (Emery) was going to play (against Tampa) and we were just going to play it by ear. At the moment, we won a hockey game and we're going to go that way at this small stage (of the season)."

Emery said he knows it's important he plays well to stay ahead of Gerber on the depth chart, but he's not going to let the pressure of having to win bother him.

"I see things a bit differently," said Emery. "I normally kind of start slow and then get going. It's been a long year for me, man. If I'm going to be kicking at the end of the (season), I've got to kind of pace myself.

"I get in there and do my best. That's all I can control."

Paddock said he believes Emery can be better than what he's shown this season.

"There's room for improvement. I don't think you can play as few games as he's played in the last seven months, go through an injury and have him play at his highest level," said Paddock. "I think that he's getting there. He's getting there by working and being in games and having success. It's up to him to keep pushing to get back at his highest level."

Emery said a strong performances against the Stars would go a long way.

"It just takes one spark to know what it feels like to play well again," said Emery.


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