FGD # 67: The Ducks Visit (Again) (7:30pm MT, SN West)

Two weeks ago, the Calgary Flames were nestled (tenuously) in a playoff spot. They hosted the Anaheim Ducks, the division’s best team. They played okay. They got absolutely rolled in the third period and lost 6-3.

Two weeks later, the Calgary Flames are still nestled (tenuously) in a playoff spot. They host the Anaheim Ducks, the division’s best team. They hope to play better, particularly since they need a few wins here and there to cement their first post-season appearance since 2009. They’re coming off a successful seven-game road trip, and ideally would like to avoid the traditional first-game-back let-down game.

The puck drops at 7:30 pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.44.37 AM

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.44.52 AM

Your extras tonight are Drew Shore, Emile Poirier and Corey Potter. Karri Ramo makes the start in goal for the home side. He’s coming off an iffy outing in Ottawa, albeit one where he didn’t get much defensive support for his tenure. He’s 12-7-1, with a 2.56 goals against average and .914 save percentage. It’s his 25th start of the season.

The key for the Flames tonight? Consistency. They utterly collapsed against the Ducks last time out, giving up five goals in the third period, and their road efforts were largely reliant on heroic goaltending and comebacks – and you can’t count on those things always happening like that. The upside is they’ll have the ability to control match-ups a lot more in the ‘Dome, which can make a lot of difference against tough teams.

THE DUCKS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.45.55 AM

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.46.23 AM

John Gibson gets the start for the visitors tonight. He’s 9-5-0 with a 2.41 goals against average and .924 save percentage, but he’s also only started 14 games. So, sample sizes and whatnot.

Anaheim’s lost two straight, but prior to that won seven of their previous eight games. They’re a good team who are hoping to round into form as the playoffs approach. They added five bodies as they approached the trade deadline, so perhaps some of these recent rough spots were because of the process of building chemistry.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Anaheim
Wins 36 42
Power Play 18.4% (13th) 16.8% (22nd)
Penalty Kill 80.9% (20th) 82.0% (11th)
Corsi 44.3% (28th) 50.9% (15th)
Corsi Close 44.8% (28th) 50.3% (17th)
Faceoffs 47.8% (25th) 51.5% (10th)
PDO 101.0 (7th) 100.4 (13th)

THE DRIVE TO 95

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.36.23 AM

No other Western Conference teams play tonight. A win gets Calgary to 79 points, which gives them a cushion on the Kings (who’ll have a game-in-hand to make it up) and a point on the Jets for a wild-card spot.

Long story short: a win would really help Calgary out tonight.

SUM IT UP

There are 15 games remaining after tonight. The Flames need roughly 9 wins (or 18 points) to cement a playoff berth. So they need to win. And if they lose, they better do it in overtime.

This is big kid hockey right now.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Wow. Forget about this year (not really). I am most excited about the future!

    Add Bennett with this group next year, flip some picks for some solid D (ala Leddy, Boychuk like the Isles) and we could be a force to reckon with as early as next year.

    Monahan, Gaudreau & Brodie will only get better. Poirer, Ferland and Shore add some nice youth and size to the roster (they will also improve).

    I am excited to see Bennett with Gaudreau and Hudler and shelter that line to the greatest extent possible next year. Monahan and Backlund lines can take on the toughs and put up points while doing it!

  • Scary Gary

    Wow what a game! Wideman with some nice offensive touches, Matty Franchise with tons of confidence and Gaudreau was buzzing all night! Backlund extends point streak and did well in the faceoff against Getzlaf.

    How do you not love this team?!

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Just listening to Vancouver Sports Talk show…they are hoping Flames keep winning and stay ahead of the Kings, saying that the Flames would give the ‘Nucks the best chance of winning a round in the playoffs!

    Be careful what you wish for ‘Nucks fans!