ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anaheim Ducks
coach Randy Carlyle
has a long-standing policy of not disclosing his starter, and he was in top form Thursday when reporters danced around whether he would insert Ray Emery
into Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Nashville on Friday.
Asked what would go into his decision-making process, Carlyle said, "The guy who gives us the best chance to win. The guy who is the most healthiest. The guy who has won the most games. The guy who has the best record against a certain team if he's been a veteran guy. At the end of it, I think, input from the coaching staff and management and we make a decision. Ultimately it's mine."
Emery replaced Dan Ellis
in the third period of Game 1 on Wednesday, his first game action since April 6. He is trying to fully get over a lower-body injury and says he is gradually feeling better.
Could he start?
"Yeah, I think so," Emery said. "I'm not sure what's going to happen. My body feels good enough to get out there and practice, a full practice, and I felt good last night. It's day-by-day, like I said, but right now it feels good."
Anaheim might have preferred to get Emery more rest and have him better prepared for later in the series, but they might have to go to him after Ellis allowed two soft goals in a 4-1 loss.
Ellis acknowledged he could have done a better job against his former team.
"I think you've got to work to find pucks in traffic," Ellis said. "That was one of the biggest things (Wednesday night). Three of the goals they used either their own guys or our guys as screens or deflections. I've got to find a way to find those pucks and give myself a better chance to make those saves."
Ellis has provided steady veteran play, but Emery has stepped forward as Anaheim's answer in net. He is 7-2-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average since he made it back to the NHL in February after a career-threatening hip surgery.
If Emery does get the nod, it would be his first playoff start since the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, ironically with Ottawa against the Ducks.
The ultra-competitive Emery said that would be special.
"That's what I really love about the game," Emery said. "It's been a long time since I've played ... I miss it. It's something I'm hoping to get back into."
Carlyle has moved Bobby Ryan
off the top line at the start of games recently and did it again in Game 1.
He does it to balance out the third line with Ryan, but also because the big line of Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf
and Corey Perry
wasn't producing. In fact, that line is a combined minus-11 in five games this season against Nashville.
"I didn't think at certain times we were getting enough from our big grouping," Carlyle said. "When you do that with Bobby, move him around, he plays with a lower level pairing of defense, you do that based upon giving him more an opportunity to show his offensive skills."
Beauchemin held out:
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin
was held out of practice with a lower-body injury but will be available for Game 2, Carlyle said.
Beauchemin said he was hit by a shot two weeks ago.