After clinching a berth into the Stanley Cup playoffs last night by virtue of Chicago defeating Dallas, the Ducks can gain ground in the Pacific Division race as they take on the Calgary Flames tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Currently four points behind San Jose for the division lead, the Ducks have the luxury of three games in hand on their Northern California rivals. But they’ll have to take advantage of these next eight games, all of which come against teams out of the playoff picture.
The Ducks started off on the right foot last Sunday when they trounced the Florida Panthers, 6-2, at Honda Center. Now they face a Calgary Flames squad out of postseason contention but on the upswing. The Flames are 7-3-0 in their last 10 home games and have won three of their last four overall while outscoring the opposition 18-9 in those games.
“Calgary plays hard,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I bet you all of them wish this was the start of the year because they like the team they have now. They think they’re going in the right direction.”
It was exactly two weeks ago when the Ducks came out of Calgary on the wrong end of a 7-2 blowout.
“We played our worst game of the year against this team last time,” said defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “It’s still fresh. They were better in all facets of the game. We were embarrassed by this team very recently. We need a response game."
The Ducks got some good news this morning, as Boudreau confirmed forward Patrick Maroon is good to go for tonight’s game. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound winger left Sunday’s game with a lower-body injury after playing a shade under nine minutes (8:50). Maroon scored his first career power-play goal and logged his first career multi-point game (1g/1a) in the victory. The St. Louis, Missouri native has earned five points (2g/3a) in his last seven games.
Corey Perry's 37 goals through 71 games are tied for the most in his career (also had 37 in 71 games in 2010-11). Perry ranks third in the NHL in goals with 197 tallies since the start of 2008-09, spanning six seasons (Ovechkin, 256; Stamkos, 229; Marleau, 196). Since the start of 2010-11, Perry has scored 31 game-winning goals to lead the NHL (four more than anyone else in the league; Washington’s Ovechkin has 27). He leads the NHL in even-strength goals (30), co-leads in GWG, ranks tied for second in goals overall and tied for sixth in points. Perry, who scored his 250th career goal and became the third NHL player to 30 goals this season on February 8 at Nashville, has 23 points (12g/11a) in his last 23 games.
EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Teemu Selanne-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Jakob Silfverberg
Rickard Rakell-Nick Bonino-Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm-Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa-Stephane Robidas
Bryan Allen-Sami Vatanen
Jonas Hiller was the first off the ice this morning, an indication he’ll be tonight’s starter. It’ll be a chance at redemption after giving up three goals on five shots before being pulled in Anaheim’s 7-2 loss in Calgary two weeks ago.
Anaheim and Calgary conclude a four-game season series tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Ducks are 2-1-0 vs. the Flames this season, including a 3-2 win on Oct. 16 and 5-2 victory on Nov. 29 at Honda Center. Anaheim is 18-7-1 against its new Pacific Division rival dating to Nov. 29, 2007. The Ducks own an all-time record of 43-34-8 vs. the Flames, including a 14-26-2 mark in Calgary. Ryan Getzlaf (3a) and Andrew Cogliano (2g/1a) share the scoring lead vs. Calgary this season, while Teemu Selanne leads in career scoring against the Flames with 82 points (39g/43a) in 76 games.