March 26 2014 03:00PM
Exactly two weeks ago, the Calgary Flames welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome. And prompted to slap them around for three periods. The Ducks weren't all that good, but the Flames were opportunistic and won 7-2. The Ducks are back in town tonight, and are understandably miffed about their last visit to the Stampede City.
And you've gotta believe they hope to put a similarly one-sided beating on the Flames in response to March 12th's stinker of a game.
Since then? The Flames are 4-2-0 (with wins over Edmonton, San Jose, Buffalo and Dallas) while the Ducks are 3-2-0 (beating Colorado, Los Angeles and Florida).
Game time is 8pm MT on TSN.
The Flames are feeling pretty good about themselves lately, though head coach Bob Hartley did note on the off-day that since the club's not making the playoffs this year, the season's a failure. He's not wrong, but there are quite a few positives to bring out here.
Lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Cammalleri - Backlund - Byron
Glencross - Stajan - Hudler
Bouma - Monahan - Colborne
Westgarth - Galiardi - McGrattan
Giordano - Brodie
Butler - Russell
Smid - Wotherspoon
Ramo's been quite good since returning from injury, and will have to be good again tonight. I figure the Ducks come out of the gate strong, so the first period will probably be close to the deluge the locals faced against the Sharks on Monday. Will they respond as effectively?
Agostino's out tonight, so he and Ben Hanowski watch from the press box. The lines get shuffled around a bit, so Bouma slots in on the third line. His physicality may open up some space for his young linemates.
Markus Granlund (per Wes Gilbertson of the Sun) DID skate before practice today.
Line guesswork via Daily Faceoff, last Ducks game and today's skate:
Selanne - Getzlaf - Perry
Cogliano - Koivu - Winnik
Maroon - Perreault - Palmieri
Beleskey - Bonino - Silfverberg
Lindholm - Lovejoy
Allen - Vatanen
Sbisa - Robidas
The Ducks clinched a playoff spot last night, but are still in a dog-fight with the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead. San Jose are 4 points up on Anaheim, but the Ducks have three games in hand. The visitors mean business, and will have to deliver, as they simply cannot let any more points slip away in the uber-competitive Pacific.
If the playoffs began today, Anaheim would play Los Angeles in the first round (and San Jose would play Minnesota). That's the incentive right there, I think.
If the draft was today, the Flames would pick fifth overall (pre-lottery).
SUM IT UP
The Flames can continue to play spoiler to contending teams in the Western Conference tonight, but the Ducks definitely remember their trouncing here two weeks ago, and desperately need two points to cement a strong playoff spot now that a berth is assured.
So it should be a playoff-like atmosphere at the 'Dome tonight.