95
Photo Credit: Candice Ward / USA Today Sports

FGD 80: Going to Disneyland (8pm MT, SN West)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

The Calgary Flames weren’t all that good on Sunday night when they hosted the Anaheim Ducks and let some much-needed points slip away against a banged-up team playing their second game in as many nights. The Flames will need to be much better tonight as they head to Anaheim not only seeking to gain some breathing room in the Western Conference playoff pecking order, but also trying to break a 13-year regular season losing skid in Anaheim. They’re going to Disneyland and they’re hoping to leave with two points.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

There are goaltending curiosities for both teams. For the Flames? The choice is between going with strength with Brian Elliott (26-16-3, 2.53 goals against average and .911 save percentage) or opting for a change up in energy by throwing Chad Johnson (18-15-1, 2.60 goals against average and .910 save percentage). Elliott wasn’t the reason the Flames lost on Sunday, but Johnson hasn’t played in awhile (and wasn’t strong in his last appearance) and there may be some benefit in resting Elliott.

The first power play unit came alive on Sunday, scoring twice after much of the extra-man production has come from the Backlund grouping in recent weeks. But the Flames weren’t good at even strength at all, particularly their top two lines, and for the second straight game they were reliant on Sam Bennett’s line for a spark. The top six will need to be better if the Flames are going to capture two points.

Update: Johnson gets the start.

THE DUCKS

Sunday night’s lines via Daily Faceoff:

At the time of publication, it’s a bit unclear who’s starting for the Ducks. Jonathan Bernier (20-7-4, 2.48 goals against average, .917 save percentage) was very sharp on Sunday and picked up a big win for the Ducks. John Gibson lost in Edmonton, but he’s the Ducks’ top goaltender and arguably needs a couple starts before the season is over to get his mojo back after an extended absence due to injury.

The Ducks were without Clayton Stoner, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm on Sunday, but won anyway. They will be more rested tonight and have last change due to having home ice advantage. One or more of those three missing defenders could slot in tonight as well, giving the Ducks even more weapons for an already-potent lineup. If that happens, it could be a very long night for the Flames in Orange County.

Update from Ducks’ morning skate from friend of the site Eric Stephens (and his awesome Twitter handle):

He also noted that Vatanen skated, but Lindholm did not. My guess is we get the same Ducks lineup as we saw on Sunday, including Bernier starting.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES DUCKS
Wins 44 43
Points
(Pct.)
92
(.582)
99
(.627)
Power Play 20.6% 18.8%
Penalty Kill 81.3% 84.4%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.6% 50.3%

HISTORY LESSON

The Flames have not won in Anaheim in the regular season since January 19, 2004. That’s 24 consecutive visits with a loss. The Flames have used a lot of different players in their attempts to break the Honda Center Streak:

  • 81 different forwards (Amonte, Backlund, Baertschi, Begin, Bennett, Bertuzzi, Bollig, Bourque, Boyd, Brouwer, Byron, Cammalleri, Cervenka, Chiasson, Clark, Colborne, Comeau, Conroy, Dawes, Donovan, Ferland, Friesen, Frolik, Galiardi, Gaudreau, Gelinas, Glencross, Godard, Granlund, Grant, Hagman, F.Hamilton, Horak, Hudler, Huselius, Iginla, Jackman, Jokinen, B.Jones, D.Jones, Jooris, Knight, Kobasew, Kolanos, Kostopoulos, Kotalik, Langkow, Leclerc, Lombardi, Loyns, Lundmark, C.MacDonald, McCarty, McGrattan, Monahan, Morrison, Moss, Nilson, Nolan, Nystrom, Oliwa, Poirier, Primeau, Prust, Raymond, Reinhart, Reinprecht, Ritchie, Roy, Shinkaruk, Simon, M.Smith, Sonnenberg, Stajan, Stempniak, Street, Tanguay, Tkachuk, Wiemer & Yelle)
  • 39 different defensemen (Aucoin, Babchuk, Bouwmeester, Breen, Brodie, Butler, Commodore, Diaz, Engelland, Eriksson, A.Ference, B.Ference, Gauthier, Giordano, Hale, D.Hamilton, Hamrlik, Hannan, Jokipakka, Kulak, Leopold, Marchment, Montador, Nakladal, O’Brien, Pardy, Phaneuf, Ri.Regehr, Ro.Regehr, Russell, Sarich, Smid, D.Smith, Staios, Vandermeer, Warrener, Wideman, Wotherspoon & Zyuzin)
  • 15 different goalies (Backstrom, Berra, Boucher, Hiller, Irving, Johnson, Joseph, Karlsson, Kiprusoff, J.MacDonald, McElhinney, McLennan, Ortio, Ramo & Turek)

You could put together a couple really good teams (and a perfectly serviceable AHL team) from the guys that the Flames have dressed in Anaheim losses.

Mark Giordano has played in 18 of the 24 losses at Honda Center.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Some Ducks follows for tonight’s contest:

PLAYOFF SEEDING

The Flames are three points back of San Jose for third place in the Pacific and one point up on Nashville for the first wildcard spot (and avoiding Chicago in the first round).

SUM IT UP

The Flames are in the playoffs, so calling this is a must-win is probably a bit of a stretch. But they’ve played poorly over the last while and while two points would really help them avoid Chicago in the first round, playing well for 60 minutes for the first time in awhile is probably just as valuable at this point.