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Power Rankings: Emery latest to buoy plucky Ducks

by | CBSSports.com Staff Writer

Updated March 21

It's way too late for Ray Emery to be considered for any type of comeback award. But the veteran goalie probably met the criteria for the Masterton Trophy, which honors perseverance above all, just by making it back to the NHL last week.

Anaheim's Corey Perry could be an MVP candidate. (Getty Images)  
Anaheim's Corey Perry could be an MVP candidate. (Getty Images)  
More important to the Anaheim Ducks was the way Emery played in his first two NHL starts since last year undergoing hip surgery that threatened to end to end his career at age 30. Emery stopped 61 of 63 shots in those starts, keying a couple of crucial wins for a team that has shown as much perseverance as its new goalie.

The Ducks are in the first season of their transition from the Scott Niedermayer era that began after the lockout and brought the franchise its only Stanley Cup in 2007. They had a rough start with three consecutive losses and four in the first five, but the bigger challenge for Anaheim in the ultra-competitive Western Conference has been extended absences of key players like Ryan Getzlaf earlier and these days goalie Jonas Hiller.

Anaheim has had big seasons from Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Getzlaf when healthy and ageless Teemu Selanne up front, and Lubomir Visnovsky and rookie Cam Fowler have done a good job along the blue line. Still the biggest reason the Ducks were challenging for the Pacific Division lead at the All-Star break was the Vezina-quality play of Hiller.

Unfortunately for Anaheim, Hiller has essentially been gone since then after taking a shot off the face in the All-Star Game. And yet the Ducks continue to be a strong playoff contender with what has become a patchwork solution in goal.

Hiller finished his All-Star period of play and has started only one game for Anaheim since because of concussion-like symptoms. The Ducks used backup Curtis McElhanny for a while, traded for Dan Ellis and then added Emery after giving the former Flyers netminder a minor-league tryout.

And right now they are one of the hottest, and maybe underrated teams in the league.

The rankings through Sunday night's games:


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