Flames-Mighty Ducks Preview
GAME: Calgary Flames (41-29-7-3) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (28-35-10-8).
TIME: Sunday, 4 p.m. EDT.
Another strong performance from Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff
could strengthen his hold on a prestigious NHL record.
If he plays in his team's season finale, however, he could also cost himself
Kiprusoff, looking to finish with the best goals-against average in history,
is uncertain whether he'll play when the Flames face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Kiprusoff has a 1.69 GAA, slightly better than the league record of 1.72 set
by Dallas' Marty Turco last season.
Kiprusoff wasn't sure if he was going to start Sunday after making only 13
saves in a 3-2 victory at Los Angeles on Friday.
"Am I not playing," Kiprusoff asked when told he held the record. "I
don't know. Let's see after tomorrow's game if I play or don't play. If I still
have it, it's pretty cool."
Flames coach Darryl Sutter wouldn't say whether he planned to start his No.
1 goalie or rest him for the playoffs.
"I haven't thought about it. He didn't have much work tonight," Sutter
Whether Kiprusoff plays or not, the Flames could have an opportunity to move
up to fifth in the Western Conference with a tie or victory Sunday. Calgary,
which will make its first playoff appearance since 1995-96, is one point behind
Dallas. The Stars conclude their season against Chicago on Sunday.
"We can still finish fifth, so we've got to go into Anaheim with the same
attitude and keep this roll going," Calgary's Matthew Lombardi said. "We can
still get better in the defensive zone and other parts of the game, but we're
playing with confidence going into the playoffs and we're excited about getting
Lombardi scored the tying goal on a second-period power play and the winner
with 6:06 remaining Friday for the Flames, who won their third straight and
improved to 9-3-2 in their last 14.
"We've got to stay focused. You can't just go into the playoffs and switch
it on," Lombardi said.
Anaheim will conclude a disappointing season after falling one game short of
winning the Stanley Cup last season.
Despite a season-high 41 saves from Martin Gerber, the Mighty Ducks lost
their fourth straight Wednesday, 2-1 to visiting Vancouver.
Anaheim has been held to fewer than two goals in 31 of 81 games this season.
"If we played as hard as our goalies do every night, we'd win 80 games,"
captain Steve Rucchin said. "I feel really bad for them. It's inexcusable for
us not to step up and play for them. It's got to be frustrating for them to be
goaltending for this team."
Calgary has scored 13 goals in three wins against Anaheim this season.
STANDINGS (through April 2): Flames - 94 points, 3rd place, 5 PB, Northwest
Division. Mighty Ducks - 74 points, 4th place, 28 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Jarome Iginla, 40 goals and 72 points; Craig Conroy,
38 assists; Chris Simon, 250 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Sergei Fedorov, 30 goals and
64 points; Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal, 34 assists; Garrett Burnett, 155 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Flames - Power play: 15.3 percent (54 for
352), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (290 for 342), 11th. Mighty
Ducks - Power play: 18.0 percent (55 for 306), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.5
percent (294 for 348), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (24-10-4, 4 SO, 1.69 GAA); Roman Turek
(6-10-0, 3, 2.35). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (16-31-6, 3, 2.65);
Gerber (11-12-4, 2, 2.26).
SEASON SERIES: Flames, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 13; Flames, 2-1. At Calgary, Alberta, Jordan Leopold and
Iginla scored, and Kiprusoff stopped 25 shots lead the Flames.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 20-15-2-2 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 18-11-7-4