FGD 61: Duck hunting (7pm MT, SN West)

One Pacific Division team fights for survival while the other tries to get closer to punching their playoff ticket on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Calgary Flames (37-16-7, 81 points) are atop their division and are trying to inch closer to officially clinching a post-season spot. The Anaheim Ducks (24-27-9, 57 points) aren’t quite so fortunate, sitting five points out of a playoff spot with several teams to climb over. Can the Flames match Anaheim’s desperation?

The puck drops after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Tkachuk
Frolik – Backlund – Lindholm
Bennett – Jankowski – Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Prout

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. The projected healthy scratches are Dalton Prout and Curtis Lazar, while James Neal remains out with a lower body injury. Oliver Kylington is dealing with the aftermath of a shot block from Wednesday’s game, so he comes out and Bill Peters shuffles the pairings a little bit:

Kyl was gonna play, but reports were it would beneficial to go the other direction. We would’ve had Brodes with Gio, but I didn’t want to go with two lefties up top and then two righties there with a young guy on the left side on that three pair.

Wednesday’s win over the New York Islanders may be the template for the Flames from here on out. They were better defensively, they were better offensively, they got goaltending, and their special teams chipped in. If the Flames can play a few more games like that one, their playoff participation will become a certainty.

The Ducks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Ritchie – Rakell – Perry
Jones – Henrique – Terry
Shore – Grant – Silfverberg
Gibbons – Kesler – Rowney

Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – del Zotto
Megna – Montour

Coming off a shutout in Minnesota on Tuesday, Ryan Miller starts for the Ducks (backed up by Kevin Boyle). The projected healthy scratches are Daniel Sprong and Andy Welinski.

Update: No Ryan Getzlaf tonight due to an injury, so Brian Gibbons will dress.

The Ducks have won back to back games, but they’re (a) four points out of the playoffs and (b) several games under .500. They were demolished by injuries to key players early in the season and are still trying to dig themselves out of that hole.

They’re a desperate bunch, so the Flames will need to be sharp to get points.

The Numbers

Wins 37 24
Points 81 57
Adjusted Corsi 52.8% 46.0%
Power Play 22.5% 15.5%
Penalty Kill 78.1% 80.6%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Michael Stone and James Neal.

The Ducks are without John Gibson, Chad Johnson and Ondrej Kase.

Season Series

The Flames and Ducks have played once already this season (a 3-2 Ducks win in Anaheim) and have two more meetings remaining after tonight. Their season series concludes Apr. 3 in Anaheim.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Ducks Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • buts

    Sharks are 8-1-1 yet there GM is shopping for a goalie rumoured to be Miller. Why does our GM not see that we need an upgrade if not, at least some depth at the most important position on a team. We have a great opportunity to go deep that hasn’t happened in a long time. I’m hoping for 2-3 moves on Monday.

  • MDG1600

    It scares me that Calgary seem to be turning to Mike Smith as #1 goalie and prepping him for the playoffs. Of course I shouldn’t be surprised since this is the same management crew of goalie development genius’s who think Gillies is the goalie of the future. My deepest wish for the Flames is that this summer they skid Sigalet and add someone to the organization who improves the goaltending IQ of management.

  • Arminius

    Ugh..well this day was coming for Brodie
    Too bad we couldn’t have dealt him while he was “top pairing D man”, figured Gio would pump him up before other GMs notice that he isn’t that good. He even looks bad playing with Gio.. Prout it is. Hope TJ wakes up!!

  • TKO

    Well, if Brodie could somehow manage to quite throwing the puck up the middle of the ice every single game at least once, causing turnovers that cost point most of the time, he would still be on the top pairing. I dont blame Peter’s. Love bodies skill set but he tries to make that dumb pass literally every single game and gets burned time and again without learning

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    One source says all is quiet on eastern front reguarding Flames trades. My source says BT has been having in depth conversations with NYR. I wish BT showed his hand a little more, the suspense is killing me!! Kreider and McQuaid = deep run.

  • Joeyhere

    Ok maybe this is wishful thinking
    But are they separating Brodie from Gio just to prove to another team that TJ can indeed play without Gio

    I mean if the rangers are interested wouldn’t they insist on seeing Brodie play with out Gio ??
    Brodie plus a pick for Krieser or Hayes ??? (Please !)

    • THE WW Bandwagon

      I think maybe we SHOULD trade for Mark Stone. Our top line seems to disappear down the stretch…especially when the games get more intense.

      What surprises me most of all is MT. I thought for sure he would thrive in this kind of environment but his play has left more to be desired.

      • Toma41

        Monahan seems to disappear this time every season. Last year he had those health problems as an excuse. We will see what this years excuse is if he doesnt pick it up. Tkatchuk has also dried up. Johnny atleast is trying. Hard for him to play with Monahan when Monahan has sucked last few weeks. If Monahan is healthy and continues playing like this, he needs to be sa for a game or two.

          • Dr.Wahooka

            Let me get this straight. You are suggesting we sit the Flames first line centre, who is 19th in points in the league and 18th in goals because he only has 3 points in his last 5 games?

        • Toma41

          Dr.Wahooka: First off you are wrong. He has 2 points in his last 5 games. In his last 11 games he has 6 points and is a -6. He doesn’t have to score every game but the problem here is his defensive play is no good. He floats in both zones, covers nobody and just waits for a pass. he does this every season around this time. Several people have noticed and posted about it. Not just me.

          • Dr.Wahooka

            I posted that before this game was over, so you got me on a technicality there. Still just because he goes through the odd slump here and there isn’t a good enough reason to sit your number one centre.

  • Off the wall

    Omg, I can’t believe it.
    I just opened up a small package of Smarties and it had all RED smarties in it!
    Seriously. I’ve never seen that in my entire life.

    The only problem was I didn’t know which one to eat last. ^That’s for all you old farts who remember the commercial.

    All RED smarties, are ya kidding me? It’s a sign boys and girls!!!!!!!

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    Good thing Smith is starting. I was worried that we would try to win a game by a score of 3-2. This has all the markings of a 7-4 game. Good times ahead. Johnny gets some point to try to catch the Cooch. Not likely, but he needs to be 2nd in scoring to have a chance for the Hart.

  • Alberta Ice

    Scary part about the last 2 wins by the Duckies is that they have beaten two really good teams in the Capitals and Wild. So don’t let their record fool you. They will be a tough out for both Alberta teams this weekend. KIGF.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    I’d bet that Peters wanted to play Prout anyway against the nasty birds. And keep Rasmus with Gio. That leaves Brodie playing on the 3rd pairing, hence the “slightly” mysterious Oliver is banged up, and so you know…offside, downside, flostam on the tide excuse.

    Ol’ Rebar has been very deliberate to not throw Brodie under the bus and came up with some kind of nonsensical waffling about why he broke up the pairs last game. Then he goes out of his way to say, “oh no Brods would have been playing with Gio.”

    Saying all the right things is our Bill. A lie detector would disagree, methinks.

    • Nighteyes

      I guess you could also make the argument in an Anderrson-Prout pairing they don’t complement each other all that well. Both are not too fast and play a sort of heavy game. I feel like the usual pairings work because there is that classic stay-at home-ish paired with an OD to a certain extent. So Brodie with Prout balances it out better.

    • Avalain

      I’ve been quite happy with Peters. I don’t want him to tell the brutal truth, I want him to say what needs to be said to get the most out of his players. I think that Peters has been very careful about throwing a player under the bus after his incident with the goalie in Carolina.

      • Avalain

        Should probably say “…careful about now throwing a player under the bus…”
        It’s been…how long now? And we’re still waiting for an edit button?

  • freethe flames

    So the Caps are making some minor trades to shore up for the playoffs. Jensen was a guy that I thought the flames should have considered to add depth on D.

  • Skylardog

    Its been a fun day on FN today with the start of all the trade deadline stuff. Keep it up.

    A perfect ending would be the Ducks getting slaughtered – and maybe the first trade by the Flames as we approach the deadline. How about Gillies for another struggling AHL goalie with potential. That’s a no to low impact deal I am sure we could all live with.

  • Off the wall

    My wife came home with a very special present for me. I got a Lindholm jersey with all the bells and whistles!!!!!!!!!

    She ordered it for the game in Vancouver, ( bless her heart) but it took 6 weeks to get it.

    I’ll be wearing it tonight!!!!!!