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Bad goal among Ray Emery’s woes in Blackhawks’ loss to Penguins

Ray Emery is caught out positibut Tyler Kennedy misses an easy tip-in. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Ray Emery is caught out of position, but Tyler Kennedy misses an easy tip-in. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 15, 2011 9:38AM

It was just 60 minutes, but a lot was on the line for goalie Ray Emery. It was his first full game and his best opportunity to impress the Blackhawks’ brass.

But things didn’t go that well for Emery or the Hawks in a 4-2 exhibition loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who fielded nearly a regular-season lineup, on Friday at the United Center.

The Hawks soon will decide whether Emery or rookie Alexander Salak will back up Corey Crawford. Time is running out for both goalies, and Emery was just “OK” on Friday, coach Joel Quenneville said.

Crawford is scheduled to start the final preseason game Sunday against the Washington Capitals. He sat out practice Friday for “maintenance,” Quenneville said, so it’s possible Emery, Salak or both could play.

“It hasn’t gone the way I wanted, especially in games,” Emery said. “I feel solid on the ice. It’s some funny plays. I’m excited. My body feels good. I would really like an opportunity to play here.”

Emery allowed three goals on his first 13 shots, including one power-play score. Matt Cooke’s short-handed tally from center ice is one Emery wants back because it came after he left the net to play the puck.

“I thought their guy was going to beat our guy so I tried to get out and rip it down the boards, but it started going funny on me and he turned around and hammered it pretty quick,” said Emery, who saw Cooke’s shot bounce over his stick. “I’ve got to rip it a bit hard or find an open guy. It’s a funny play.”

It’s believed the Hawks would prefer to have experience behind Crawford, who is entering his first year as a starter. Emery, 29, would provide that. But Salak has done well.

In his only full game this preseason, Salak allowed three goals on 33 shots against the Detroit Red Wings, who had Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and other regulars playing, in a 4-3 shootout loss earlier in the week.

“I think I bring certain things,” said Emery, who finished with 15 saves. “I bring some experience. I think they kind of know what to expect from me as far as my track record goes, and I expect to get better and better as the year goes on. We’ll see. I gave it my all.”

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