Preview: Flames at Ducks
In the midst of tight Western Conference playoff race, the Calgary Flames will look to end their four-game road trip on a high note Thursday when they visit an Anaheim Ducks squad which is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games. Despite a 5-3 setback to the Kings Wednesday, the Flames have still managed 16 wins away from home - fourth-most in the NHL - while securing seven victories in their last 10 road games.
The Flames are holding on by a single point to one of two wild-card spots and will need to maintain their advantage without the help of two of their top defenseman - reigning Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano is week-to-week with a hamstring injury while Travis Hamonic was placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury following Saturday’s 6-2 win in Vancouver. Elias Lindholm potted two goals against the Kings to extend his point streak to eight games (four goals, five assists) while also increasing his team-leading goal total to 24 - three away from tying his career-high set last season. The red-hot Ducks are riding a five-game point streak for the first time since 2018 after completing a 2-0-2 east coast swing at the end of a trip that saw them earn points in all five games for the second time in franchise history. Anaheim was scheduled to put their streak on the line against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues on home ice Tuesday, but the contest was postponed after St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench while suffering a cardiac episode during the first period.
TIME: 10 p.m. ET. TV: FS West, Sportsnet West
ABOUT THE FLAMES (29-23-6): Mikael Backlund recorded his eighth goal of the season to open the scoring Wednesday and has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four games after compiling just two assists in his previous eight outings. Johnny Gaudreau chipped in with a pair of helpers against Los Angeles to give the 26-year-old a team-leading 47 points - one more than Matthew Tkachuk, who picked up an assist on Backlund’s goal. Goaltender Cam Talbot (7-8-1) owns a 2.72 goals against average, .a 918 save percentage and is expected to be in net Thursday after David Rittich allowed four goals on 32 shots against the Kings.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (23-26-7): Captain Ryan Getzlaf owns a team-best 25 assists and 37 points after ending a 12-game goal drought by scoring his 12th of the season during a 3-2 victory over Buffalo Sunday. Adam Henrique’s four power-play goals pace an Anaheim team that is 30th in the league with a 14.4 percent success rate and has just one goal in its last 17 opportunities with the man advantage - spanning seven games. With four shorthanded goals in their last 10 games, the Ducks have tied their single-season franchise record with 10 penalty kill markers, second-most in the NHL behind Ottawa’s 12.
1. Ducks G John Gibson has seen his goals against average rise in each of the last four seasons and his current 2.96 mark represents the highest of his career.
2. Flames LW Milan Lucic has recorded five points in his last three games while five of his six goals this season have come with the man advantage.
3. Anaheim is 19-2-2 when leading after two periods.
PREDICTION: Ducks 3, Flames 2