The Anaheim Ducks have been remarkably resilient on their way to a surprising fourth seed finish, but they will need to continue to roll with the punches in the playoffs. That could mean beginning a challenging first round series against the Nashville Predators without their top two netminders.
It already seems like a near-certainty that Jonas Hiller won’t be in the Ducks net, but Ray Emery also told the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens that he doesn’t think he will play in Game 1 on Wednesday. Emery suffered a lower-body injury last weekend, although it’s unclear if he aggravated his career-threatening hip problem or if it’s another ailment entirely.
Emery said that his condition is improving and that he can move well, but it sounds like the Ducks will have to go to Plan C: Dan Ellis.
Before you crack out your Twitter-inspired jokes, Ellis already came up big for the Ducks upon Emery’s setback, making 43 saves in Anaheim’s fourth-place clincher against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Now, does that mean that he’ll be able to keep up that kind of pace when his overall season stats are pretty paltry? Probably not, but this series is ultimately all about how the Ducks’ explosive offense going toe-to-toe with the Predators’ lock-down defense.
Then again, Ellis was once a backup in Nashville, so perhaps he’ll be able to show his former team that they should’ve given him the nod, instead of their Vezina Trophy candidate Pekka Rinne.