Ducks goalie Ray Emery, right, makes a glove save in front of Calgary defenseman… (Mike Sturk / Reuters )
From Calgary, Canada
The Ducks endured more than a few nervous moments Wednesday before sealing a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, but they have learned to thrive on the kind of pressure that can make lesser players go weak in the knees.
If the tension was especially high in Wednesday's game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, they barely noticed.
"Is there one that hasn't been?" Coach Randy Carlyle said after his team vaulted into sixth place in the West by winning for the seventh time in eight games and ninth in 11.
The Ducks had played seven straight one-goal games and were in the same situation Wednesday until Corey Perry scored into an empty net for his second goal and league-leading 46th. The Ducks are six points ahead of ninth-place Dallas, which has two games in hand, and six ahead of the Flames, who have only four games left.
Ray Emery rescues Ducks in net while Jonas Hiller struggles with his health b>
"They were desperate and we're desperate as well," goaltender Ray Emery said after he improved to 6-0-0 in seven appearances. "We need points and it's a tough building to come into, but we did a good job. We got a lead in the first and battled hard the rest of the game to keep it."
They almost didn't.
They overcame Jarome Iginla's early goal and took a 2-1 lead on two power-play goals, a Bobby Ryan wraparound and Perry's deflection of a Cam Fowler shot, then waited through a lengthy video review of a Tim Jackman shot that appeared to have crossed the goal line at 14:50 of the second period. It was not ruled a goal on the ice by referees Gord Dwyer and Marc Joannette, and NHL executives in Toronto said because no replay could conclusively prove the puck had crossed the line, the referees' ruling should stand.
The Flames claimed they should have been awarded a penalty shot because Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf cleared the puck out of danger by closing his hand on it, a contention supported by replays on Canada's TSN network.
The Ducks added to their lead four minutes later when Lubomir Visnovsky tied a club record for defensemen with his 16th goal of the season, a long blast that was deflected by Calgary's Cory Sarich and past goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Calgary pulled within a goal 32 seconds into the third period thanks to a five-on-three power play gained following some undisciplined penalties by the Ducks, but Perry iced it with 47 seconds left.
"The hockey was not pretty but it doesn't matter," said Visnovsky, who matched the 16 goals scored by Fredrik Olausson in the 1998-99 season. "It was an important two points for us."
Emery wasn't sure how the NHL would judge the disputed play, which developed when the puck hit the arm of Calgary center Matt Stajan and popped up in the air before it was swatted by Jackman.
"I think the puck kind of flipped over top and it hit his glove and then the guy whacked it and I got back in time," Emery said, leaning to re-enact the play in the locker room. "It hit my glove and hit the crossbar and kind of fluttered down and hit him. I knew it was close."
The Ducks are accustomed to close calls—and to coming out on the triumphant side. Emery has been a big part of that. Carlyle called him "a godsend," a point reinforced when All-Star goalie Jonas Hiller said he is again experiencing symptoms related to his bout with vertigo. "I've got to take it day by day and do my best to feel right," Hiller said, "and hopefully it's going to be more good days than bad days, and at some point hopefully just good days."
Emery had a good day Wednesday. So did the Ducks.
"He was the best guy for us. He saved lots of good chances," Visnovsky said. "That changed the game."