Ducks' Ray Emery questionable for Friday's game against Kings
The Ducks, who still need two points to clinch a playoff spot, might have to play their biggest game of the season without the goalie who unexpectedly saved them when Jonas Hiller was felled by vertigo.
Ray Emery, who suffered a lower-body injury on Wednesday, is questionable for Friday’s game against the Kings at Honda Center, Coach Randy Carlyle said after the Ducks’ morning skate. If he can't start, Dan Ellis would likely get the assignment.
Carlyle said Hiller is available but it’s doubtful the Ducks would throw Hiller in as the starter because he hasn’t played since a 12-minute, three-goal performance at Nashville on March 24.
Emery said Thursday he didn't think the injury was related to the radical hip surgery he underwent nearly a year ago, and he was being cautious because he wants to stay in the lineup when he returns, not be in and out because of this new problem.
“We’ll make a decision later this afternoon as to the possibility of him backing up or playing for our hockey club tonight,” Carlyle said. “We have an option of three people now, with Jonas Hiller, and Dan Ellis and Ray Emery all being available for tonight’s game.”
Emery did off-ice work and had treatment on his undisclosed injury. Carlyle said he was awaiting word on how Emery feels after his workout and treatment.
“It’s just another hand that you get dealt,” Carlyle said. “We feel comfortable that no matter who we put in the net has proven that they can play NHL-caliber goal for us and stop the puck and give us a chance. That’s not any different than what we’ve asked historically of our group. It doesn’t change.
"Just give us a chance. Give us your best. They’re NHL-quality people and goaltenders and both have winning records and both have won in I would say dominant performances. All we’re looking for is a solid performance from our goaltending.”
Ellis replaced Emery on Wednesday against San Jose and played the final 29 minutes of a 6-2 victory, giving up one goal on 15 shots. In 12 games since the Ducks acquired him from Tampa Bay, Ellis is 6-4-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. Emery is 7-2-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 10 games.
Ellis said he’s prepared for whatever situation he encounters Friday night.
“It is what it is. That’s your job. You don’t always know what the layout is going to be but you’ve got to prepare yourself, regardless,” he said. “You’ve got to go out and have good practices, have a good pregame skate and then just wait and see where things end up.”
Ellis said that having played Wednesday should help him if he plays Friday. “Getting a few minutes before gives you a little comfort going back into a game,” he said. “When you haven’t had a start in three weeks sometimes you’re not really going in there with much rhythm. You’re much more battling it out and stuff. But getting a little bit of playing time, a half a game, allows you to go in a little bit more comfortable.”
Center Todd Marchant, who is battling the flu and missed Thursday’s practice and Friday’s morning skate, also is questionable for Friday’s game.
The Kings had a quiet morning skate at their El Segundo practice facility, a team spokesman said. Jonathan Quick is scheduled to start in goal Friday and might play again Saturday at Staples Center when the teams finish their home-and-home series -- and their respective seasons.
Check back soon for more about the Kings and Ducks and their season-ending weekend series at Latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Goalie Ray Emery #29 of the Anaheim Ducks skates on the ice in the game withthe St. Louis Blues at Honda Center on March 16, 2011 in Anaheim, CA. Anaheim won 2-1. Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images