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Backups Wall, McKee in an unexpected place

Times Staff Writer

Michael Wall and David McKee were part of the goalie contingent in the Ducks’ training camp in September, but the odds of either being on the roster this season were slim and none.

The Ducks were set with Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov in the net and the plan for Wall and McKee was for them to challenge for starting jobs at the team’s minor-league affiliates.

However, the two goalies, with all of two NHL games between them, flew into Raleigh with the rest of the Ducks on Thursday and both could be on the bench for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

That scenario will play out if Bryzgalov can’t play after today’s morning skate. Bryzgalov has missed the last 10 games because of a groin strain, but the regular backup has been improving and made the trip.

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Giguere had an MRI exam late Wednesday, which showed no tear in his strained groin muscle. He stayed in Anaheim but could join the Ducks this weekend if he improves.

Two months ago, Wall was backing up Michael Leighton for the Portland Pirates, the Ducks’ American Hockey League team. McKee went to Augusta (Ga.) in the East Coast Hockey League, where he has been the starter.

“I really didn’t have the best year last year,” said Wall, who won his only start Nov. 26 against Calgary. “Being a rookie [as a pro], my eyes were kind of wide open a little bit and I didn’t play as much as I’d like to.

“It’s definitely a different situation now than at the start of training camp. I just put my nose to the grindstone and kept working hard.”

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Stung by losing Leighton to Nashville on waivers, the Ducks acquired goaltender Sebastien Caron from Chicago for minor leaguers Pierre Parenteau and Bruno St. Jacques.

Also coming to the Ducks in the deal were minor league forwards Chris Durno and Matt Keith. Caron is the key as he played in 90 games over three seasons with Pittsburgh and has a career goals-against average of 3.46 in 91 NHL games.

Caron will report to Portland with Durno and Keith but could join the Ducks if Bryzgalov isn’t well.

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One more victory before Jan. 5 will mean that Carlyle will coach the Western Conference team in the NHL All-Star game, which is Jan. 24 in Dallas. The Ducks would clinch possession of the conference’s best winning percentage by that date.

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TONIGHT

at Carolina, 4, FSN Prime Ticket

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Site -- RBC Center.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 28-5-6; Hurricanes 20-15-4.

Record vs. Hurricanes (2005-06) -- 0-1-0.

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Update -- Center Todd Marchant went on injured reserve because of a strained abdominal muscle and won’t be eligible to return until Tuesday. Defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina is facing the two best teams in the league back to back.

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eric.stephens@latimes.com


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