Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 78: Hunting for Ducks (and goals) (7pm MT, SN West)

The locals welcome some recent rivals to town this evening as they aim to halt their current modest losing streak.

The Calgary Flames (47-23-7, 101 points) host the Anaheim Ducks (32-36-10, 72 points). The Flames have lost back-to-back games and have scored just once in their past six periods. They face the Ducks, a team that they flat-out do not like and often seems to bring out the best in them.

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The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as a moderate (-240) favourite on OddsShark’s moneyline.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Prout

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Coming of a David Rittich loss on Wednesday, Mike Smith slides back into the net. (Presumably this alternating goalies pattern will be continued through the weekend, with Rittich and Smith splitting Sunday and Monday’s back-to-back games.) The scratches look to be Oscar Fantenberg, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone and Alan Quine, while Sam Bennett remains sidelined with an upper body injury. Rasmus Andersson jumps up to the first pairing for this one.

The Flames have clinched home ice in first round, are still atop both the Western Conference and Pacific Division and can clinch top spot with any combination of two wins or Sharks losses. Despite their modest skid – two whole games – they’re very much in the driver’s seat. Their key to victory? Execution. They’ve generated good looks over their last two games, but haven’t done enough to get into the prime high-danger areas or to get the tips or screens on goaltenders to make life challenging for them. If the Flames can get a few good looks and bury them, expect their swagger to return and this to turn into a very long evening for the Ducks.

The Ducks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Rakell – Steel – Silfverberg
Sprong – Henrique – Terry
Perry – Shore – Sherwood
Jones – Grant – Rowney

Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – Welinski
Megna – Holzer

Ryan Miller starts for the Ducks, backed up by John Gibson. Brendan Guhle and Jake Dotchin are the projected healthy scratches, presuming there are no new injuries since last game for this group.

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Update: no Josh Manson for Anaheim tonight, but Jacob Larsson slots back in.

The Ducks are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and are playing out the string. Their roster is a pretty interesting mix of bodies right now, a hodgepodge of whoever’s healthy combined with some good young players who spent much of the year with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Keep an eye out for former Regina Pats standout Sam Steel and former college star Troy Terry. And also Hampus Lindholm, who’s really, really good on the blueline.

The Numbers

Wins 47 32
Points 101 74
Adjusted Corsi 54.0% 48.1%
Power Play 20.2% 17.4%
Penalty Kill 79.3% 79.0%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Sam Bennett.

The Ducks are without Ondrej Kase, Ryan Kesler, Chad Johnson, Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie.

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Season Series

This is meeting three of four between these rivals. The teams split their first two meetings: a 3-2 Ducks win in Anaheim in November and a 2-1 Flames win in Calgary in February. They’ll close out the season series on Wednesday in Anaheim.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Ducks Twitter follows for tonight:

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