Game Preview: Flames vs Anaheim Ducks

CALGARY FLAMES (9-8-4 22 points) vs. ANAHEIM DUCKS (16-3-3 35 points) GAME 22

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames will look to continue one streak while trying to end another tonight when they head into Anaheim to face the Ducks. The Flames have not won in Anaheim in fifteen straight visits but are playing their best hockey of the season and will look to extend their winning streak to a season-high three games. The Ducks are one of the surprises so far in this shortened season, sitting in 2nd place in the West, and at the top of the Pacific Division.

This is the second meeting between the clubs this season, as the Ducks took the two points with a 5-4 victory over the Flames on Jan. 21st at the Dome.

The Flames were finally able to get over the .500 hump with a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. It was one of the Flames best sixty minute efforts of the season while they welcomed back Miikka Kiprusoff back from injury, who stopped 32 of 33 shots faced.

With Kiprusoff back, the time is now for the Flames to start climbing the standings and get into the top 8. Tonight’s game kicks off a mini three-game road trip for the Flames, with three games in five nights.

Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist against the Sharks, regaining his usual spot on top of the Flames scoring. Iginla now has seven goals and eleven assists for 18 points on the season as he has started to heat up and create some chemistry with his line-mates, Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka.

The Ducks have been firing on all cylinders to start the season and will look for their 10th straight victory at home at the Honda Center.

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have both bounced back after under-par seasons, leading the Ducks in scoring and more impressively, both sitting at a +/- rating of plus 10.

Getzlaf, who has 15 points in his last 8 games, was rewarded for his strong play and showed his commitment to the Ducks by signing an 8-year/66 million dollar contract extension with the Ducks earlier today.

Re-signing Getzlaf allows the Ducks to now shift their focus on re-signing Perry, who is set to become a UFA on July 8th. There are mixed feelings on whether Perry wants to stay in sunny California, but with Getzlaf now signed long term, the Ducks hope it will help persuade Perry to stay too.

Kiprusoff gets the start for the Flames, while 30-year old rookie, Viktor Fasth (9-1-0 2.08GAA .922 SV%) will get the start for the Ducks.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Ducks:

1- HUDLER-CERVENKA-IGINLA                                1- BELESKEY-GETZLAF-PERRY

2- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-BAERTSCHI                  2- RYAN-BONINO-SELANNE

3- GLENCROSS-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                     3- COGLIANO-KOIVU-WINNIK

4- JACKMAN-COMEAU-McGRATTAN                        4- ETEM-HOLLAND-STAUBITZ

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                                1- SOURAY-BEAUCHEMIN

2- WIDEMAN-BUTLER                                                 2- LYDMAN-FOWLER

3- SMITH-BRODIE                                                        3- SBISA-LOVEJOY

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                             1- FASTH

2- MacDONALD                                                            2- HILLER

 

EXTRA- BEGIN, SARICH, BABCHUK                          EXTRA- McMILLAN

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Mikael Backlund (Knee- IR), C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Ducks: D- Bryan Allen (Flu- Day-to-DayLW- Kyle Palmieri (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- Hampus Lindholm (Concussion- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

J. Iginla

21

7

11

18

E

A. Tanguay

21

6

11

17

-6

M. Cammalleri

18

8

8

16

-3

L. Stempniak

21

6

10

16

4

J. Hudler

18

4

12

16

2

 

Ducks

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

R. Getzlaf

22

9

18

27

10

C. Perry

22

7

14

21

10

S. Koivu

22

7

13

20

10

B. Ryan

22

6

12

18

1

T. Selanne

22

6

11

17

E

 

PP-

Flames: 20.5% (8th)

Ducks: 29.2% (1st)

PK-

Flames: 79.7% (19th)

Ducks: 76.6% (28th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

24

21

0

3

45

2. ANAHEIM

22

16

3

3

35

3. VANCOUVER

23

11

6

6

28

4. DETROIT

24

12

8

4

28

5. LOS ANGELES

22

12

8

2

26

6. SAN JOSE

22

11

7

4

26

7. DALLAS

23

12

9

2

26

8. ST. LOUIS

23

12

9

2

26

 

9. PHOENIX

24

11

10

3

25

10. MINNESOTA

22

11

9

2

24

11. NASHVILLE

23

9

9

5

23

12. CALGARY

21

9

8

4

22

13. EDMONTON

23

8

10

5

21

14. COLORADO

22

8

10

4

20

15. COLUMBUS

24

8

12

4

20

 

MY TAKE:

This three game road trip will truly tell us who this Flames team really is.

Starting in Anaheim tonight, the Flames will stay in California to face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and Monday night.

The Ducks and Kings represent two teams that will be playing come playoff time and teams the Flames have to prove they can beat if they even want to be considered real contenders.

I have enjoyed watching the Flames play these last two games, and agree that this has been the best they have played in back-to-back games this season.

A huge stepping stone for the Flames was finally being able to get over the .500 mark. It was clearly dragging on them mentally and now that they have conquered it, I think it will help them be more relaxed while continuing their strong play.

Saying that, this Flames team has had good stretches in the past and thrown it away by losing two or three in a row, putting them back to where they were before their winning streak.

I hope things are finally going to change and with Kiprusoff back and giving the team that sense of calmness behind them, I feel there is no better time than now for the Flames to start making their move.

It is not going to be easy facing the Ducks and Kings but getting 4-5 points on this road trip will be huge for the Flames as they near the half-way mark of the season.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon