CALGARY -- It's all quiet inside Scotiabank Saddledome for now, but later tonight it will transform into a raucous "C of Red" for a pivotal Game 3 between the Ducks and Flames. Anaheim went through its morning skater earlier, and it looks like John Gibson will make his third start of the series.
Since a shaky opening 20 minutes in Game 1, Gibson has been rock solid. The 23-year-old netminder stopped 35-of-37 shots for his fourth career postseason victory in Game 2, two nights after a 30-save effort in the series opener. On the other side, the Flames will counter with veteran goaltender Brian Elliott, who has been in net for the first two games of the series.
Defenseman Sami Vatanen remains a game-time decision but looked "pretty good" according to head coach Randy Carlyle in his post-skate media session. Vatanen, who missed Game 2 with an upper-body injury, took rushes this morning with Clayton Stoner. Carlyle says he'll talk with the training staff to see where Vatanen is at as the day goes on, but it ultimately comes down to the player's decision.
If Vatanen does not play, expect to see Korbinian Holzer take his spot in the lineup alongside Josh Manson. Holzer made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in Game 2 and finished with 13:05 TOI over 20 shifts.
The Ducks know what is coming later tonight. "The crowd is going to be into it for sure," said Manson. "They're going to be excited. It's going to be loud. We're going to have to weather the storm, find a way to withstand, and then come out with a win."
So far through two games, the Ducks have done a good job keeping their emotions in check, while the Flames have, at times, become unglued, specifically late in Game 2 when defenseman TJ Brodie was tagged with a cross-checking penalty on Ryan Kesler. The same applies tonight and the remainder of the series, however long it goes.
"You have to keep the emotional rollercoaster to a minimum," said Manson. "There are going to be those peaks and valleys. You're going to feel like all the momentum is on their side, but two minutes later it could be on your side. It's just limiting the highs and lows and finding that even keel, and replicating it for 60 minutes."
Injured defenseman Cam Fowler took the ice near the end of the team's morning skate today, an encouraging sign as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury suffered on April 4 from a collision with Flames captain Mark Giordano. Though he was in obvious pain and needed assistance off the ice, the timetable given from Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray at the time was anywhere between 2-6 weeks. Today marks 13 days since the injury occurred.
Fowler said his on-ice session was "about as good as it could be for the first day," and his recovery is going along as planned. He emphasized the importance of taking things day by day, which, for now, is monitoring how it reacts after his first skating session since the injury. "So far it's been good," Fowler said.
Potential Line Combinations
Video: The Ducks preview Game 3 in Calgary