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Hawks to go with Ray Emery in goal vs. Islanders

Coach Joel Quenneville stayed true to his word. He said backup Ray Emery could earn more starts in place of Corey Crawford if his play warranted it.

On Thursday, Emery will start in goal on the road against the New York Islanders.

“He’s coming off two real solid games for us,” Quenneville said Wednesday after practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West. “He’s a proven guy. He’s experienced in our league. He did an excellent job last year when he was with Anaheim. ... When the games are on the line, he seems to rise to the occasion. The games he’s played, he’s gotten points in every game but the one game which was our toughest as a team the whole year [a 9-2 loss in Edmonton during the circus trip].”

In his last start, Emery had a strong game in goal in a 5-2 victory against the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday. He then replaced Crawford Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period after Crawford allowed three goals on 16 shots. Emery turned away all 11 shots he faced before falling in a shootout.

Quenneville said this is also an opportunity for Crawford, who has struggled in his first full season as the Hawks’ No. 1 goalie, to work on his game and regain some confidence.

Crawford is 12-7-2 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. Emery is 4-1-2 with a 2.93 goals-against average and .890 save percentage.

Quenneville dismissed any notion of a goalie controversy.

“We like the situation where both guys are playing well,” Quenneville said. “I’m not going further than one game at a time.”

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