FLAMES (13-7-2) at DUCKS (13-4-5)
TV: SNW, SNF, PRIME
Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller returns to Anaheim on Tuesday when the Flames play the Anaheim Ducks attempting to break an 18-game regular-season losing streak at Honda Center.
Hiller spent the first seven seasons of his NHL career with Anaheim, where he was 162-110-32 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Hiller won 29 games last season to help the Ducks to the best record in the Western Conference and the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in seven games. Hiller was benched in favor of Frederik Andersen to start the playoffs. He regained the No. 1 spot because of an injury to Andersen before the Ducks turned to John Gibson against the Kings.
Signed by the Flames to a two-year contract on July 1, Hiller is 9-5-1 with a 2.45 GAA, .914 save percentage and one shutout in 15 games (14 starts). He is hoping for a positive reaction in his return to Anaheim.
"I always enjoyed being here," Hiller told the Flames website. "The fans were great to me, and there was always support. The Ducks made a name for themselves in California and it was nice to be a part of that. It's definitely going to be a little more special, but in the end I'll just try to focus on the game and hopefully play as good as I can."
The Flames have won once in their past 28 visits to Honda Center. The last time they won there was Jan. 19, 2004. They've since gone 0-13-5.
"Sometimes you have good luck in buildings," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told their website. "They've probably been unlucky a couple of times and they were going through a time when they weren't playing as well. This is their first game of the road trip. Having not played since Saturday, I expect them to be as hungry and as good as they've been all year."
Behind Hiller's 24 saves, Calgary defeated Anaheim 4-3 in a shootout on Nov. 18 at Scotiabank Saddledome after rallying with three third-period goals. Though the Flames lead the NHL with five wins when trailing after two periods, one more than all of last season, coach Bob Hartley is looking for a faster start. The Flames needed three third-period goals, two with their goalie pulled, to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday.
"It's not about being aggressive … we're giving leads because we made bad decisions defensively," Hartley told the Flames website. "Suddenly, whoops, we get our game back and we go. In the last couple of games, I felt that in the first period, we gave way too much Grade-A chances.
"But when we're giving tape-to-tape passes from side-to-side, that makes it real tough to stop for our goalies. We're better than this. I felt that in the last three or four games, a better focus in the first period would definitely help us."
Here are the projected lineups:
Curtis Glencross - Sean Monahan - Lance Bouma
Johnny Gaudreau - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler
Michael Ferland - Josh Jooris - Paul Byron
Brandon Bollig - Corban Knight - Sven Baertschi
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Devin Setoguchi
Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Mikael Backlund (undisclosed), Joe Colborne (upper body), Matt Stajan (knee), Mason Raymond (shoulder), David Jones (upper body)
Matt Beleskey – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Kesler – Kyle Palmieri
Jakob Silfverberg – Nate Thompson – Andrew Cogliano
Rene Bourque – Rickard Rakell – Devante Smith-Pelly
Sami Vatanen – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm – Mat Clark
Injured: Ben Lovejoy (finger), John Gibson (groin), Mark Fistric (back), Dany Heatley (groin), Clayton Stoner (illness)
Scratched: Tim Jackman
Status report: Stoner returned to the ice for the Ducks after experiencing mild mumpslike symptoms and said he thinks he may be ready for the weekend. "I feel OK," Stoner told the Ducks website. "I'm feeling a little rundown, but other than that I'm not contagious, so it's OK to be around the guys, which is nice. I was worried about it because you saw how sick [Perry and Beauchemin] were, but thank God I didn't have the crazy fever and flu like they had." … Andersen made 26 saves in a 2-1 win Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes after going 1-1-2 with a 3.62 goals-against average in his five previous starts … Jones (upper body) returned to practice Monday and is traveling with the Flames but Hartley wants to give him another day of practice. "There's no sense at this time of the year to jeopardize by putting any players in," he said. "He's good, he declared himself good to go. I think another 24 hours. He'll be in [Wednesday] in San Jose."
Who's hot: Hudler has 17 points in 21 games. ... Gaudreau has nine points (goal, eight assists) in 10 November games. ... Vatanen has six points (goal, five assists) in his past five games. ... Getzlaf has six goals and 15 assists in a 13-game regular-season home point streak against the Flames.