(Candice Ward / USA Today Sports)
The Calgary Flames set a franchise record on Sunday night, winning their 11th consecutive game on home ice in the form of their 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Hopefully they can refocus in the afterglow of that moment, as now they have a chance to extend that record to a dozen tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Flames enter the evening just a point out of a playoff spot and are part of the gigantic Pacific Division clump of mediocrity. They can try to break themselves out of the pack with a victory over a divisional foe tonight, as well as get some revenge over the Ducks for their last loss in Anaheim in November (and their first round playoff loss in the spring).
The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Karri Ramo makes his 25th start of the season – not bad for a guy that was thrown on waivers and tossed onto the AHL scrap-heap in October – and he’s emerged as the NHL-average goalie the Calgary Flames have desperately needed. He’s 13-10-1 with a 2.75 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Because of Bollig’s size (and the size of the Ducks squad), Hartley has inserted the former Blackhawk into the line-up at the expense of Mason Raymond, who will join Josh Jooris and Ladislav Smid in the press box tonight.
Johnny Gaudreau has been impressive. He has 18 points in December, 27 points over the past two months and 22 points during the Flames’ 11-game home winning streak. He’s the straw that stirs the drink for Calgary right now, and the crazy thing is that he’s young enough that there’s probably still upside left to explore.
As much as I’ve been harping on their special teams – and I’ll continue to, don’t worry – they’ve actually been fairly decent lately. The Flames have scored power-play goals in each of the last three games (going 4-for-11 with the man advantage) and they’ve killed off every penalty they’ve taken over their past six games. They’re not world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ve made progress.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
John Gibson probably gets the start tonight for Anaheim, coming off a 24-save performance against the Ducks. He’s 5-4-2 with a 1.98 goals against average and .923 save percentage. When he’s been healthy, he’s been very good for the Ducks. The Ducks have placed Cam Fowler on the injured reserve with a sprained knee, so the Ducks have recalled Shea Theodore from San Diego. Tthis means that Korbinian Holzer probably slots in, but Theodore could also slot in as Boudreau has said there’s a “good chance” that Theodore finally makes his NHL debut this week. Either way, expect the pairings to be a bit of an adventure.
Keep an eye on former Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan Getzlaf, who always seems to play well against the Flames. Getzlaf had five assists in Anaheim’s last game against Calgary, and he has 44 points in 39 career games against the Flames.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Ducks beat the Flames by a 5-3 score way back in November. The difference was a pair of power-play goals scored by the Ducks.
All-time, the Flames are 37-40-7-8 against the boys from Orange County, at least in the regular season.
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SUM IT UP
It’s the second big divisional game in a week of big divisional games! The Flames can continue to give themselves a buffer in the Pacific Division race by continuing their winning ways at home tonight.