Although this morning's pregame skate was optional, the majority of the Ducks opted to hit the ice as they prepare for tonight's tilt against the Calgary Flames. Among them were captain Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie, who both appear to be nearing a return to the lineup.
Head coach Randy Carlyle today listed them as game-time decisions, and, for what it's worth, both Getzlaf and Ritchie skated yesterday at practice. The original plan was for them to be re-evaluated today, so we'll see if they do in fact dress tonight. Their return would provide a big boost to a team that's still trying to find consistency, though a 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes two nights ago gave fans a glimpse into what this team is capable of even if it was missing two key players.
Of course, the storyline as it always is when these two clubs meet at Honda Center is the streak - Anaheim's active run of 23 consecutive home victories that dates back to April 4, 2004. The win streak matches the longest regular-season home winning streak against one opponent in NHL history. The Philadelphia Flyers are the only other team to post such a run, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 23 straight times on home ice from Feb. 17, 1980 - Jan. 29, 1987.
"There were lots of games that probably should've gone their way," Carlyle said. "We just have to focus on the process and what you can control."
The Flames enter tonight's game still feeling the burn of a 5-0 shutout loss last night at Staples Center against the LA Kings. Brian Elliott gave up all five in the loss, which dropped Calgary to 1-3-0 over their past four games.
"They're a work in progress," said Carlyle. "They've got some effective young players. Gaudreau and Monahan are special players. Their defense is as mobile as any in the league. Hamilton is having a much different impact. Giordano is a world-class player. They've had some speedbumps along the way. We're going to respect the opposition no matter the situation, but we have to focus on what we need to do to be effective. We have to execute to a higher level."
There's a good chance Jonathan Bernier gets the start tonight for Anaheim. John Gibson was the lone goaltender on the ice this morning, but the 23-year-old has made a career-tying 10 consecutive appearances in net. Bernier has recovered from an upper-body injury suffered on October 25 in San Jose, and last appeared in a relief role on November 2 vs. Pittsburgh.
Military Appreciation Night
Tonight, the Ducks will honor the United States Armed Forces by hosting Military Appreciation Night at Honda Center. All fans in attendance will receive a camouflage hat courtesy of Pacific Premier Bank. This special game night will pay tribute to local military members and their families as well as raise awareness for local military nonprofit organization, United Heroes League.
The Ducks will be wearing camouflage jerseys during the pregame warm-up that will be autographed and made available in an online auction at AnaheimDucks.com/auction following the game. The night will begin with members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command and U.S Special Forces Soldiers from Special Operations Detachment - North rappelling from the rafters to join Military Police Patrol/Explosive Detector Dog, Corporal Nero and Military Police K-9 Handler, Lance Corporal Brandon C. Benningfield, who will participate in the evening's honorary puck drop. The action continues throughout the game with a first intermission curling contest between all of the military branches (USMC, ARMY, NAVY, USAF and COAST GUARD), as well as military personnel and family members from United Heroes League participating in a variety of experiences, including Zamboni rides.