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Flames seek quick bounceback against Ducks

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (1-0-0) at FLAMES (0-1-0)


Season series: It's the first of three meetings between the teams, who don't see each other again until the Flames come to Anaheim in early March. The teams split their four games last season, with each going 2-1-1.

Big story: It's Game 2 of 48 for both teams, but they come into this one feeling markedly different about themselves. Anaheim could kick back Sunday after routing the Canucks 7-3 in Vancouver the night before and watch the Flames get off to a good start against San Jose, only to have the Sharks score three times in the second period on the way to a 4-1 win.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Teemu Selanne continues to defy Father Time. At 42 years and 200 days, he had a pair of goals and two assists in the victory at Vancouver, making him the oldest player since Gordie Howe in 1971 to get four points in a game. He did it all in just 15:08 of ice time, more than two minutes below his average last season.

"It's an amazing thing. You don't expect it but it happens," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times via by phone Sunday. "I know he can play better. He's had better nights. But everything he touched was gold [Saturday] night. It was great."

Selanne, who was playing his 1,342nd career game, moved past Dale Hawerchuk and into 18th spot in all-time scoring with 1,410 points.

"He is so good with the puck, knowing where other people are. He's scored [667] goals: he knows what to do with it," Boudreau said. "But like everybody else, I've seen him with more energy and skate better but it wasn't because of his age. It was because it was the first game, with no preseason."

The Ducks also helped themselves by connecting on all three of their power plays, though they allowed a pair with Selanne in the box.

Flames: The sellout crowd at Scotiabank Saddledome had plenty to cheer about in the first period of Sunday's season-opener -- the Flames led San Jose 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes, and only 15 saves by Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi kept the score close. But the last two periods were another story -- San Jose scored three times in the second period and added a late power-play goal to spoil the night for the Flames and their fans.

"We had our chances and Niemi played well," said Lee Stempniak, who scored Calgary's only goal. "We hit a post early on. Those are all things that I think contributed but for us, we stopped skating and things sort of fell apart. To me that's the issue."

Getting right back onto the ice might be a good thing for the Flames.

"You leave that game behind and look forward to the next game and focus on that," center Mikael Backlund said.

Injury report: Anaheim may have defenseman Cam Fowler back in the lineup after he missed Saturday's game with the flu. … The Flames were without new additions Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler on Sunday. Cervenka is out with a blood clot, and Hudler is nursing an abdominal injury before returning to the Czech Republic to attend his father's funeral. Defenseman Anton Babchuk is still out with a shoulder injury.

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