NEW YORK -- The numbers to date tell you Ray Emery has been an average playoff goalie as a pro, at best.
The makeup of the individual, however, suggests he can be something special.
Nothing bothers Cool Hand Ray for too long. Not a bad goal. Not a poor game.
If he's going down, he's generally getting back up in a hurry.
That could be key for the Senators this spring, as it appears Dominik Hasek isn't leaving the sidelines any time soon and that a good chunk of their playoff hopes hinge on a rookie who has never before experienced the kind of pressure he's about to face.
Tell him that, though, and Emery almost has to stifle a yawn.
"Rayzor's one of the most easygoing people I've ever met, he's very laid back," Senators winger Brian McGrattan was saying yesterday. "Guys get rattled when they let in five or six goals, and I guess he does too at the time. But he doesn't let it bother him for too long. I think that's why he's as good as he is. It's one of his best attributes."
McGrattan and Emery played together with the Soo Greyhounds in 2001-02, when Emery went 2-4 in the post-season with a suspect 3.17 GAA.
And they were teammates each of the last three seasons in Binghamton, when Emery went 8-6, 2.83 GAA (2002-03), 0-2, 3.01 GAA (2003-04), and 2-4, 2.05 (2004-05) in the playoffs.
"He played great for us in the playoffs last year, we just couldn't score," said Jason Spezza, who was also an Emery teammate in Bingo. "It's not that he didn't play well ... he didn't give them much at all.
"We were talking about that just (Monday) night, about how pressure isn't a playoff game. It's more fun than anything. The stakes rise and it's exciting. But this is hockey. Pressure is worrying about putting food on the table for your family and paying the bills."
"He plays his best when there's a bit of pressure on him," said McGrattan. "We had a good playoff run (in Binghamton) our first year, when he was the starting guy, and I don't expect anything different from him now. I think his best games are still ahead of him this year."
Starts And Stops:
Dany Heatley had two good chances at No. 50 in the second period last night. The first was a slap shot from the high slot that Blueshirts G Henrik Lundqvist gloved, generating a standing ovation and 'we're-not-worthy' waves by the Madison Square Garden fans. On the second close call, Heatley took a backhand pass from Spezza but partially missed his shot, sending the puck fluttering over the net .... The Senators' Energy Line in the playoffs, as it stands now, will be Antoine Vermette between Chris Neil and Vaclav Varada. The trio looked good the rare times it was on the ice last night ... Spezza, when asked yesterday morning which of Tampa or Montreal he'd prefer to play in the first round: "Who cares? It's all how we play. When we're playing well, we can beat anybody. When we don't, anybody can beat us. Right now, Montreal or Tampa, it's apples and oranges, the same thing."
Lucky for the yellow cab drivers in Manhattan that McGrattan wasn't drafted by the Rangers. "I could never drive here, I'd get in two fights a week," the Senators enforcer mused yesterday. "They're crazy." .... You'd have to want a Senators-Rangers playoff matchup at some point, if only to watch a Battle of the Big Boys -- Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr -- for seven games. Each must have known what the other had for dinner yesterday, the way they were face to face all night, plus took the game's first penalties when Chara slammed the Rangers star to the ice .... Wish Martin Havlat a happy birthday. He turns 25 today.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm:
A Heatley-on-Darius Kasparaitis hit in the second period put a linesman over the boards ... Next Disney movie to hit the screens -- apparently it's called Endowed or something like that -- will contain scenes that were shot in Times Square late Wednesday night. Watch for a familiar Sun scribe and his cohort in the background, trying to weasel their way into Hollywood by moving pylons around and generally trying to look like they belong. Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do right?
Poor Harry Neale. As if Hockey Night in Canada's top analyst doesn't already take enough abuse from Ottawa fans who claim he and play-by-play partner Bob Cole are Toronto cheerleaders who don't know the names of all the Senators. Now Harry's getting ripped for his shout-out to Sens video coach "Tom Patterson," who was celebrating his "36th birthday" last Saturday -- the specific complaint being that said coach is Tim Pattyson (as he was correctly identified in the scrawl under his live image), who was actually turning 27 (who really could pass for 36). Thing is, Harry knows who Tim is, and called him Tom Patterson as part of an inside joke. Guy can't win.