After arguably the biggest spanking they’ve received from a team since last season, the Calgary Flames are back in action at the Honda Center tonight against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semi-Final series!
The Ducks fed the upstart Flames a hefty piece of humble pie on Thursday, defeatingly them handily by a 6-1 score in a game that was never close. Now, 72 hours later, the Flames are hoping that a couple days of rest and some work on various aspects of their game can help them escape Orange County with a series split.
If not, they’ll face a tall order coming back from a 2-0 series deficit against a confident Anaheim team.
The puck drops after 8pm MT on Sportsnet West (with Paul Romanuk and Mike Johnson) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias).
Gaudreau – Monahan – Hudler
Bennett – Backlund – Colborne
Bollig – Stajan – Jones
Raymond – Jooris – Shore
Russell – Wideman
Brodie – Engelland
Schlemko – Diaz
Following two truncated outings for Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo starts for the Flames. He got the victory in relief in Game 6 against Vancouver and makes his first career post-season start. Micheal Ferland and Raphael Diaz appear to be game-time decisions. Jiri Hudler will reportedly play, as will Dennis Wideman, who missed practice yesterday.
The odd men out, based on reports from practice and my own shady guess-work, appear to be Tyler Wotherspoon, Markus Granlund and David Wolf. Injured bodies include Ferland, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Ladislav Smid and Mark Giordano. Giordano and Bouma have been skating though, with Giordano joining the main group yesterday in a non-contact jersey.
The key for the Flames tonight? Regain some confidence and keep the game close. The Ducks got to the center of the ice with ease on Thursday, using their size and speed. The Flames will need to use theirs in order to stem the tide and perhaps steal a game. Oh, and Karri Ramo will need to be very sharp in his first start in awhile.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
No changes are expected for the home side. Frederik Andersen gets the start.
The Ducks are a poised and confident bunch, having won (a) five straight playoff games, (b) their last three home games and (c) 10 of their past 12 games overall. The key for the Ducks will be to score first and ride the wave of momentum to put some distance between themselves and Calgary. If the Flames are allowed to hang around in a game, they can come back. It would behoove the Ducks to put the Flames back a few goals early, as they did in Game 1.
SUM IT UP
If the Calgary Flames have designs on winning this series, they need to steal a win in Anaheim. To do that, they’ll have to be a whole lot better than they were on Thursday.