By Michael Walters
Tonight it will be military appreciation night as the Anaheim Ducks(5-5-2) host the Calgary Flames(5-7-1), who haven’t won a regular-season game at Honda Center since January 19, 2004. The Ducks have beaten the Flames 23 times in a row at Honda Center during the regular season. This ties the mark set by the Philadelphia Flyers who rolled to 23 straight victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins at The Spectrum from 1980 to 1987. The game starts tonight at 6:30 PM PT.
The Anaheim Ducks have been on a trend of winning big and losing big. The Ducks have won big three of their last five games over Nashville, Los Angeles, and Arizona. The Ducks also lost big to Columbus and Pittsburgh. Anaheim has had trouble playing consistent hockey but has also had to deal with injuries to Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie causing various lineups in the past week. The Ducks are also missing Hampus Lindholm still, who per his agent should have his visa in the coming week.
The key for the Ducks in this game is to score first and build momentum. In the recent games, the Ducks play seems to be dictated by the first few goals in the game. If Anaheim scores first, then there is a jump in their step. But when the Ducks get scored on first, then they seem to get down giving momentum to the opponent. The Ducks currently have four forwards in the lineup that haven’t seen extended time in the NHL and additional playing time should help them gain valuable experience to avoid early letdowns in the future.
Getzlaf and Ritchie did practice yesterday. According to Randy Carlyle, both have made steps in the right direction, but it’s not clear if either will play tonight. The lineup is provided below with them not listed for now. When new information is provided, then an updated projected lineup will be posted.
John Gibson (Unconfirmed)
The Flames were in action last night against Los Angeles and were blown out 5-0. Jeff Carter and Devin Setoguchi scored to make it 2-0 in the first period and the Kings continued to roll after that. Calgary didn’t have an answer all night and was dominated being outshot 39 to 24. In addition to coming off this loss, the Flames have to play the second of back-to-backs in Anaheim, which has been a house of horrors for them for over a decade.
In order for the Flames to break the drought at Anaheim, they need to improve their special teams. Their power play is only 8.7% efficient which is 28th in the league. The penalty kill is 74.5% efficient, which is 29th in the league. Several of the past contest against Anaheim have been high scoring affairs, so the Flames may have to get into another shootout type game in order to earn two points.
Former head coach Bob Hartley has downplayed the losing streak before, but current coach Glen Gulutzan and the players know breaking this streak and avoiding the record books will be a goal for tonight’s contest.
Projected Lineup (Dailyfaceoff.com)
Chad Johnson (Unconfirmed)
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