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Pregame Report: Divisional Game vs. Flames Ramps up Importance, Motivation for Ducks

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks


By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com

Taking part in Anaheim’s optional morning skate at Honda Center today were two players recently recalled from San Diego. Summonsed from the Gulls were goaltender John Gibson and center Chris Mueller, and reassigned were center Michael Sgarbossa and defenseman Shane O’Brien.

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Gibson is here because No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen is currently experiencing flu-like symptoms.

He began the season in San Diego, going 7-4-1 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 13 games. Among AHL goaltenders, Gibson ranked first in saves (374), tied for sixth in wins, tied for 10th in shutouts (1) and second in minutes played (774:43).

The 22-year-old has 26 games of NHL experience with Anaheim in his career, posting a 16-8-0 record with two shutouts, 2.45 GAA and .919 SV%.

Mueller, meanwhile, had four goals and 10 points with 22 penalty minutes in 16 games with San Diego this season. Signed as a free agent on July 1, Mueller ranked second among Gulls leaders in scoring and assists, and tied for second in goals at the time of his recall.

As for Hampus Lindholm, who missed his first game of the season on Saturday against the Lightning with an upper-body-injury, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed the young defenseman is back in tonight.

With this being a divisional game against a foe sitting directly beneath them in the standings, Boudreau reinforces the importance of tonight’s matchup against the Calgary Flames.

“Every week you go during the course of the season, the games bring more importance,” said Boudreau. “It’s the first time we’re playing Calgary since the playoffs. It’s a divisional game and we’re not looking beyond it. This would be a great week to build something.”

Judging by the morning skate, it appears Gibson will back up Anton Khudobin tonight against the Flames, who bring with them a two-game winning streak and victories in three of their past four games.

“It’s a motivating game for us tonight,” said Ducks center Rickard Rakell. “We played three really good road games. During that span, we got a really good feeling about our team and a glimpse of how good we can be. Being home tonight, everyone feels rested and ready to go.”

The Flames traded for young defenseman Dougie Hamilton on June 26 and signed skillful right wing Michael Frolik to a five-year contract on July 1. Other than that, Calgary’s roster remains relatively unchanged since the last time these teams faced each other in May.

Johnny Gaudreau is still proving to be nearly impossible to contain. One look at his overtime goal against Chicago on Friday shows how tenacious and crafty he can be, despite his 5-foot-9, 157-pound frame. Gaudreau, 22, is just one of three players in the NHL with multiple overtime winners (also Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews). The second-year forward now leads the league in overtime points with four (2g/2a) and paces Calgary skaters in points (20) and assists (15).

The Flames also have Mark Giordano back in the lineup after suffering a torn biceps tendon on February 25. Calgary’s captain underwent surgery shortly after and missed the remainder of the season, including the playoff series vs. Anaheim.

Calgary’s defense is already known for its ability to join the attack and contribute offensively. TJ Brodie is another talented offensive defenseman who excels at reading the play and knowing when to pinch and activate. Look for him to carry the puck down the wall and behind the Anaheim net on more than one occasion tonight.

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