Emery vs. Leclaire?

The Ottawa Senators are never far removed from goaltending sagas and sub-plots and the latest dose of intrigue could come Friday in Syracuse.

In this case, it’s minor-league intrigue as Pascal Leclaire and Ray Emery appear on course for a head-to-head match-up while playing for Binghamton and Syracuse, respectively.

The Senators assigned the oft-injured Leclaire  to Binghamton for an American Hockey League conditioning stint Monday and the organization is hoping he can stay healthy long enough to serve as part of a tandem with Craig Anderson to play out the string this season. If Leclaire wants to be anywhere in the NHL next season he must at least prove he can avoid another setback in the final two months of the season.

Meanwhile, Emery, who backstopped the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007 before his world fell apart the following season, could be in the thick of an NHL playoff race soon.

After undergoing potentially career-ending hip surgery early last year, Emery was signed by the Anaheim Ducks to provide  goaltending depth in early February. He had a win and a loss in his first two AHL games on the weekend, stopping 37 shots in a 7-1 victory over Rochester on Saturday.

Ducks number one goaltender Jonas Hiller has been plagued by dizziness for the past few weeks and back-up Curtis McElhinny has struggled. The Ducks, in the middle of the logjam for one of the final playoff spots in the West, have allowed 21 goals in their past three games and Ducks GM Bob Murray says Emery could be close to being back in the NHL.

“I think Curtis has earned the opportunity to try to get back on track,” Murray told the Orange County Register on Monday.”We’ll give Ray Emery a little while longer. He said he felt better Saturday than Friday, which is a very encouraging thing. He said he saw the puck better.”

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