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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 75: Winding down with the Ducks (7:30pm MT, SN West)

The last time the Calgary Flames hosted the Anaheim Ducks, it was at the midway point of the season and Glen Gulutzan threw a stick into the 13th row of the Saddledome’s lower bowl. Hope of a playoff berth was very much a tangible thing. Tonight, the Flames (35-29-10) host the Ducks (37-24-12) as they begin to play out the string after a trio of regulation losses have effectively doused their playoff dreams. That said, it’s still a significant night: Matt Stajan plays his 1,000th NHL contest this evening and the gents in red will probably be energetic as they try to commemorate the occasion with a W.

The puck drops just after 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. (It’s the second half of a double-header, following Montreal vs. Pittsburgh.)

The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Bennett
Brouwer (A) – Backlund – Frolik
Ferland – Jankowski – Hathaway
Lazar – Stajan – Glass

Giordano (C) – Hamilton
Stone – Hamonic
Kulak – Andersson

Mike Smith starts for the Flames. He’s 24-20-6 with a 2.63 goals against average and .917 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The projected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski, Nick Shore, Kris Versteeg and Chris Stewart. The Flames remain without the services of Matthew Tkachuk and TJ Brodie due to upper-body injuries of unspecified severity.

It’s the 1,000th career game for Matt Stajan, but it’s also an occasion to celebrate a couple individual efforts. Johnny Gaudreau sits 7th in the NHL in scoring and he has 82 points, ensuring that he’ll remain known as “Point-Per-Game Johnny.” Dougie Hamilton now leads NHL defenders in goal-scoring, so that’s neat and fun as well.

The Flames are mathematically alive, which has the same general implication as “medically alive” – near-death. They’re six points back of Anaheim for the last wild-card spot and seven back of Los Angeles for the last divisional spot. And they have Dallas and St. Louis between them. Their “tragic number” is 5.5 – any combination of 5.5 Anaheim wins or Flames losses kills Calgary’s playoff hopes dead.

The Ducks

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Rakell – Getzlaf – Perry
Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg
Ritchie – Henrique – Kase
Kelly – Grant – Chimera

Fowler – Montour
Holzer – Lindholm
Beauchemin – Bieksa

John Gibson starts for Anaheim. He’s 28-17-6 with a 2.48 goals against average and .925 save percentage. He’s backed up by Ryan Miller. The projected scratches are Josh Manson (who’s nursing an injury), Antoine Vermette and J.T. Miller.

The Ducks are a streaky bunch. They’ve won three in a row, which was preceded by a three game losing skid and another three game winning streak. The Ducks are in search of both consistency and a playoff spot, and might find both before season’s end.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Marek Hrivik (upper-body) are on the injured reserve. Matthew Tkachuk (suspected concussion) and TJ Brodie (upper-body) are both out but remain on the active roster.

Anaheim: Patrick Eaves (Guillain-Barre syndrome) is on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the fourth and final game between these teams this season. The Flames have won two of the previous three meetings. All three meetings have been close: 2-0 and 3-2 wins for the Flames and a 2-1 win for the Ducks.

The Numbers

CGY ANA
Wins 35 37
Points 80 86
Adjusted Corsi 53.1% 49.2%
Power Play 17.0% 17.9%
Penalty Kill 81.3% 83.0%

Know Thy Enemy

These folks will likely be tweeting about the Ducks tonight:

Sum It Up

The Flames are playing out the string, but hopefully they can play spoiler to the Ducks’ playoff hopes.

FGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY ATB FINANCIAL

Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

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  • kirby

    Seriously? Mike Smith again, huh? What is the value in blindly continuing to play him while he underachieves in what is now a completely dead season? (and don’t give me the “mathematically alive” crap. It’s OVER. We aren’t running the table while 4 good teams all lose almost every remaining game with no overtime 3 pt nights)

    Alright, well let’s see if he can improve on a 3.68 GAA and .872 save % since returning from injury. Let’s see if he can improve on his nearly 3 goals against on home ice average for the whole season. Let’s see if he can win his 14th home game in his 33rd attempt. Wow, look at all the great chances to win he gives us. Better let him call his own shots and start whenever he wants regardless of his play, because you know, he’s such an “MVP”. Let’s not bother trying to further develop Rittich who might actually be of value to this organization moving forward. Nah. Let’s just keep running the underwhelming underachieving veteran into the ground as if the team will get anything out of that.

    What a joke. GG needs to tell him to take a seat, then he needs to take one himself. Smith still in net, Brouwer still on top PP units. Enough with this crap already!

  • Big T-Rev

    Ughhh. Since 2003 I haven’t missed a single minute of flames hockey….until this year. This will be the 7th time this year I have tuned out before the 3rd period, and the last game I’ll watch this season. I seriously can not stand this coach, most times im frustrated before the game even starts. If GG is coaching next year I will not be supporting this team via ticket sales or tv ratings. This season has by far been the worst display of coaching tactics and player usage I have ever seen. All I can say is boooooooooooo. I hope they get booooed off the ice tonight, or at least gully does. See you all next year

    • Glensfunnyface

      GG IS an arrogant piece of hot garbage. Boo this man. Boo his hair. Boo his stupid face. Mostly boo his incompetence. How this loser has gotten not one but two shots at head coach in the NHL baffles me. Send him packing before that clock hits zero. BOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    You know, with the reality of playoff quest over and it being Silver Stick night at the Dome, I think I would like to venture a line up that would just be fun if not just for the hell of it.
    I believe this is what I’d like to do with the available bodies to fill the lines.
    Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
    Bennett – Backlund – Frolik
    Stajan (A) – Jankowski – Versteeg
    Hathaway – Lazar – Glass

    Giordano (C) – Hamilton
    Kulak– Hamonic
    Stone – Andersson

    Why bump up Stajan and give him a shot at getting a goal tonight? What could it hurt and how much fun could that be.
    Might even boost morale?
    (Glass is still in just for the punch a Duck in the face fun)…

  • JMK

    If Monahan is injured, at what point do they shut him down for the season? I’m sure it depends on the injury but why risk your top goal scorers health for much longer.

    • Joeyhere

      Good point – why aggravate an injury further. Get fixed up so he can start his rehabilitation and be ready for next year

      Also would give us a chance to call up more prospects and see what they have – it’s not like we’re going to go 8-0 and make the playoffs