With tonight’s win against the Blues, the Ducks are back in 8th place in the western conference. Emery’s first NHL start this season led to his first NHL win of the season. Every game of the season is important, but the end of the season (especially in these times where points for losing in overtime and shootouts make the standings even closer) seems more critical. Every win can mean jumping a couple spots up in the standings and every loss can mean being passed by a team or two to drop in the standings.
Though he didn’t exactly answer the question about why he chose to start Emery in goal tonight, Randy Carlyle explained that all you can as of your goaltender is that he give you a chance to win the game and said Ray Emery definitely did that tonight for the Ducks. They had a rough second period, but ended it still in a tie and managed to get and keep the lead in the third to beat the Blues.
The Ducks are playing every game like it’s already the playoffs and fighting to make sure they’re not going to stop playing at the end of the regular season. With their number one goalie (and many would argue, MVP until he was injured, Jonas Hiller) injured, Anaheim is facing a bit of an uphill battle.
Their SoCal rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, swept their recent four game road trip and face the Blues tomorrow night in LA. Although the Kings have climbed to 4th place in the western conference, they’re far from secure in the playoff picture. They’re only 4 points ahead of the Ducks, who are tied in points with the 9th place Calgary Flames. With 12 games remaining in the season, it’ll definitely come right down to the wire again this year.