McElhinney one lucky Duck

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Curtis McElhinney is loving life with the Anaheim Ducks.

Well, except for the gash he suffered the other day when drilled by a puck in the face.

Since last season's trade from his hometown Calgary Flames to the Ducks, life has been pretty rosy for the goaltender who spent parts of three seasons serving as the backup to Miikka Kiprusoff.

Although when he and the Ducks met his former team Friday in Southern California, McElhinney was sporting nearly a bunch of stitches over his right eye, the result of being drilled in the mask in Wednesday's game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Canucks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff fired a point shot that caused a pressure cut. To add further insult to the injury, McElhinney was sprawled on the ice in pain, blood immediately flowing from the wound, while Daniel Sedin scored into what was essentially an empty net.

"It was a scary incident at the time. Hopefully, it won't happen again. At least I made the initial save, I guess," McElhinney said. "Poor rebound control, apparently. Apparently, my reflexes need to be a little bit faster, too."

His sweater was covered in blood by the time he reached the dressing room for stitches.

"Five, I believe," he said when asked how many it took to close the cut. "I wasn't watching. I kept my eyes closed."

Other than that, the trade has done wonders for McElhinney.

He was a hard-luck case in Calgary, winning only four of 14 starts with the Flames, but last season posted a 5-1-2 mark after being traded for Vesa Toskala.

This year, he has a 2-2-1 mark with a 2.78 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Since the trade, he's put up the numbers the Flames and their faithful were hoping to see.

"He has not disappointed us," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Curtis goes in and battles. He gets all the tough assignments and he's played very strong net for us."

"It was a good situation when I came last year," said McElhinney, 27. "I got the opportunity to get in there right away and play some games and it helped with the confidence.

"This year has been the same thing. There's been opportunities and things have gone well."

Not long ago, his status as a NHLer was starting to become up in the air. After all, there isn't much demand for a goalie who has a save percentage is below .900, an average well above 3.00 and a losing record.

However, McElhinney -- who is one of the game's good guys -- is enjoying life to the fullest.

"I'm having a ton of fun. We'd like to be higher in the standings, but I think guys are starting to get a good feel for things," he said. "It's fun to be able to walk outside the arena and have it be 20 C every day. It hasn't gotten old."

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