Ducks, Ray Emery subdue Flames, 4-2
Ray Emery’s clutch goaltending, an effective power play and a favorable ruling on a debatable play helped the Ducks strengthen their playoff chances with a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Emery improved to 6-0-0 in seven appearances, stopping 23 shots to help the Ducks win for the seventh time in eight games and ninth in their last 10. His work was crucial because earlier in the day All-Star goalie Jonas Hiller acknowledged he was again experiencing symptoms of vertigo and isn’t ready to play again.
“I can’t make myself see the puck if I don’t feel comfortable,” Hiller said after the team’s morning skate.
Emery, signed as a free agent on Feb. 7, was steady Wednesday when the Ducks needed him to be. However, he did benefit from a ruling by the NHL’s Toronto operations executives, who said that replays of Tim Jackman’s second-period deflection could not conclusively prove that the puck had crossed the goal line after it struck Emery’s glove and so allowed the on-ice call of no goal to stand.
The Ducks vaulted past Nashville and into sixth in the West while severely damaging the Flames’ playoff chances. The Ducks have five games left.
The choppy first period ended with the Ducks holding a 2-1 lead, with both goals resulting from power plays. The Ducks had a five-on-three advantage for 48 seconds after Robyn Regehr was sent off on a dubious slashing penalty and they scored their first goal with 10 seconds left in Regehr’s penalty.
The Flames scored first, at 2:58. Alex Tanguay dug the puck out and fed Jarome Iginla for a snap shot from the right circle, the veteran winger’s 37th goal this season and the 996th point of his career.
The Ducks pulled even at 8:05, when Ryan used his long reach to score on a wraparound while the Ducks had a five-on-four manpower edge. They killed off a penalty against Matt Beleskey and scored on their next power play, while Mikael Backlund was in the box for slashing.
They moved the puck around well and set up Fowler for a long shot; the puck went off Perry's leg and dribbled through Kiprusoff’s pads.The assists went to Fowler and Visnovsky.
Perry took a needless penalty for roughing after the goal, for striking Tom Kostopoulos on the head with his stick. The Ducks killed that and ended the period with a power play after Matt Stajan was sent off for tripping at 18:13.
The Flames thought they had pulled even at 14:50 of the second period, when Jackman batted at the puck by the right post and the puck glanced off Emery’s glove. Referees Gord Dwyer and Marc Joannette did not signal a goal and they consulted the NHL’s operations staff in the Toronto “war room” for their views.
It was a tough call and a long delay, but the ruling was that replays did not conclusively show the puck crossing the goal line, so no goal was awarded. Calgary fans, already on edge because of their team’s precarious playoff status, booed lustily but all that did was vent their frustrations.
The Ducks had only three shots in the second period but scored on one of them, increasing their lead to 3-1 at 18:51 when Visnovsky’s long slap shot deflected off Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich and past a startled Kiprusoff. Perry and Toni Lydman also got assists on the goal, the Ducks’ first at even strength in the game.
Calgary pulled within a goal early in the second period, taking advantage of a five-on-three power play. Ducks forward Brad Winchester had taken a foolish crosschecking penalty at the end of the second period and Lydman was penalized for hooking 19 seconds into the third period. Defenseman Mark Giordano finished off a crisp passing sequence by blasting a shot from about 45 feet past Emery at the 32-second mark.
Lydman was sent off for hooking at 4:07, giving Calgary another power play. But the Flames, despite exerting some pressure and taking two shots, couldn’t score. The Ducks also failed to convert a power play at 6:45.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports
-- Helene Elliott in Calgary, Canada
Photo: Ducks goalie Ray Emery makes a save during the first period of the Ducks' 4-2 victory Wednesday. Credit: Larry MacDougal /Associated Press