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Game 78--Ducks@Flames: On the Brink

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Anaheim Ducks
@ Calgary Flames

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011, 7:30 PM MST
Pengrowth Saddledome

Flickering Flames Must Beat Ducks

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Another day, yet another crucial game for the Flames, who need the two points tonight if they hope to stay in the playoff race. The home team will look for revenge against an Anaheim squad that beat them little more than a week ago when Teemu Selanne scored in the dying minutes to send the game to OT, where Anaheim would eventually win it.

The Ducks have given the Flames fits this season, and will look to sweep the season series with a victory tonight, further distancing themselves from the likes of Dallas and Calgary. Even with a 'W' tonight, the Flames can climb no higher than ninth place in the conference; they two points would put them at 89, one behind the idle Chicago Blackhawks and still two back of the Ducks, who hold a game in hand.

Selanne continued his recent reign of terror over the Western Conference with three goals and five points in a comeback win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, and is now tied with Jarome Iginla for eighth overall in NHL scoring. It's likely that tonight's contest will come down to who proves to be the better of the two. Iginla had two goals Saturday night against the Oilers and has nine points in his last seven games, and will need to be a driving force for the Flames' offence tonight. The Captain needs just five more points to reach 1,000 for his career, and for him to reach that milestone would be a special way to close out the season, even if the Flames don't make the post-season.

In other Flames news, Daymond Langkow was medically cleared to resume full-contact practice with the club today, but the likelihood of him getting back into the lineup this season is slim and complicated by salary cap issues as well as the fact that he hasn't played in over a year. The organization also announced the signing of Finnish goalie prospect Joni Ortio to an entry-level deal today; Ortio appeared much improved in this year's World Junior Championship, where he backstopped Finland to the quarterfinals with a GAA of 1.86 and an SV% of .931 (eliteprospects.com). Like his idol Miikka Kiprusoff, he already has a blog devoted to him. Ortio will join the Abbotsford Heat on an amateur tryout contract.

Enjoy the game tonight everyone and do your best to avoid apathy in the comments. Go Flames.