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Ducks send Ray Emery to play for Syracuse

March 5, 2011 | 11:39 am

Ray-emery_250 The Ducks assigned goaltender Ray Emery to Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Saturday to keep him sharp in case they have to rest incumbent starter Dan Ellis and rely on Emery during the final weeks of the season. That possibility becomes stronger every day that All-Star goalie Jonas Hiller remains idled by a case of vertigo.

Emery was scheduled to play for Syracuse at San Antonio on Saturday and at Texas in a day game Monday before rejoining the Ducks. Goalie J.P. Levasseur was recalled from Syracuse to be Ellis’ backup Sunday, when the Ducks play Vancouver at Honda Center. After that they don't play again until Wednesday.

Ellis, acquired from Tampa Bay for Curtis McElhinney on Feb. 24, has played four games for the Ducks and has a 3-0-1 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average.

Hiller remains on injured reserve and out indefinitely. He played one game after appearing in the All-Star Game and missed the next three after saying he felt dizzy and lightheaded. He returned to shut out Edmonton Feb. 13 and felt the symptoms again the following day in practice and hasn't played since. He has been skating but there’s no timetable for his return.

The Ducks signed Emery Feb. 7, during Hiller’s first absence, in order to have a goaltender with NHL experience. Emery has dressed as the backup in their last five games.

The Ducks have four back-to-back sequences among the 17 games left on their schedule. That’s where Emery would come in, if Hiller hasn’t recovered and been activated by then.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Ray Emery during his days with Ottawa. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times