This road trip is the stuff of dreams. This road trip has not only put the Calgary Flames back in a playoff position, but forced them to carry three healthy goalies. Joni Ortio, going perfect in all his games played this season to date, has forced the Flames' hands, resulting in Drew Shore being sent down while still waiver-eligible. Josh Jooris is back while Curtis Glencross has taken his place on the injured reserve. Rafa Diaz draws in for Ladislav Smid, and while Tyler Wotherspoon has been recalled, he won't dress just yet - though he probably will soon, as you definitely don't recall your top defensive prospect just to have him sit around. That's Corey Potter's role.
Tonight's opponent is the Anaheim Ducks, in the third of five matchups. The Flames and Ducks have met twice this season already with the home team winning each game. In the first matchup, the Flames scored three times in the third period (classic Flames) courtesy of Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman. The Ducks forced a shootout, where who other than Sean Monahan would ensure the 4-3 victory? The second time around, the Flames were down 3-0 going into the third, and despite TJ Brodie and Hudler's goals, they were unable to complete the comeback, and fell 3-2. Back then, the Flames had the chance to take the Pacific Division from the Ducks, but the Ducks have since completely run away with it. Still, a win tonight would help Calgary get itself back in the top three.
But most recently, the Flames beat the Los Angeles Kings for the third game in a row. Joni Ortio stopped just about everything that came his way - and a lot of things came his way - but Monahan's tally forced overtime, and Wideman's video review overtime winner gave us an excellent, if anti-climactic, but still awesome, 2-1 victory. | Recap | Stats | Boxscore | Suck it, L.A.:
And the Ducks? Yup, they're on a four-game win streak, same as the Flames. Only they've spent most of their games at home - their only away game was in L.A., which is basically still at home - and haven't even used the same goalie each time (Frederik Andersen thrice, and Ilya Bryzgalov once). While they defeated both the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils by four goals apiece, the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings took them to shootouts. The Ducks were the ones scoring in the third to force the extra frame and ensuing skills competition.
The last time the Flames won in Anaheim was Jan. 19, 2004. Roman Turek was the goalie on record. That's how long it's been.
For more on the Ducks, be sure to go to Anaheim Calling!
Game time: 8:00 p.m. MT, slightly less terrible than L.A., but still terrible
All-time record: The Flames are just a touch behind the Ducks, 39-41-7-8. They can pull even and even take the all-time series lead this season, but they need to win out, and that starts tonight. The Ducks currently have a +8 goal differential as well.
Common threads: Rene Bourque, he who frustrated us many a time while wearing a Flames jersey, has found his way to Anaheim. With the Ducks, he has played 21 games, scoring just two goals and six points over that time. Kind of a far cry from that 27 goal scorer we once knew, eh? His efforts were lacking in Calgary, but that's also where he posted the best shooting percentages of his career. Once those dropped off, you're left with a guy who got sent to the AHL and is a healthy scratch candidate. Funny how that works.
There's also Tim Jackman, former beloved Flames fourth liner. His role is now filled by Brandon Bollig, although less belovedly so. Also if we could just stop with the whole tough guy punching people roster decisions that'd be for the best, really.
ALSO there's Jonas Hiller, former beloved goalie of the Anaheim Ducks who found his way out after last season. Under normal circumstances he'd probably be starting this game, because it's Anaheim and all. But Joni Ortio has taken that away from him.
Approaching milestones: Continuing the Mark Giordano countdown: he'll officially become an NHL All-Star with 496 NHL games under his belt. Game #500 will come in February. So awesome.
There are a couple on the Anaheim side of things. Ryan Getzlaf is three goals away from 200, so that's achievable, but certainly shouldn't happen, please god don't let that happen. Ryan Kesler is six goals from 200, so that needs to happen even less. Corey Perry is six assists from 300, so there's no need for them to team up on that. And Nate Thompson is six points from 100.
... Really the only one of these that might actually happen is Baldzlaf's, but honestly, there's no need for that. Go Ortio.
Current records and leaders
|Calgary Flames||Anaheim Ducks|
|25-18-3: 53 points||30-10-6: 66 points|
|Pacific Division: 4th||Pacific Division: 1st|
|Western Conference: 8th||Western Conference: 1st|
|Time on ice|
Defence: TJ Brodie (25:11 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:27 per game)
Defence: Francois Beauchemin (22:37 per game)
Forward: Ryan Getzlaf (20:25 per game)
Goals: Jiri Hudler
Sean Monahan (14)
Assists: Mark Giordano (28)
Points: Jiri Hudler
Mark Giordano (39)
Goals: Corey Perry (19)
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (115)
Shooting percentage: Matt Stajan (20.0%)
Shots on goal: Ryan Kesler (138)
Shooting percentage: Kyle Palmieri (22.9%)
|Sean Monahan (49.6%, 1021 taken)||Ryan Kesler (56.2%, 950 taken)
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (42)
Hits: Lance Bouma (149)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (138)
Penalty minutes: Tim Jackman (72)
Hits: Nate Thompson (116)
Blocked shots: Sami Vatanen (97)
|Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)|
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (47.5%, 46 GP)
TJ Brodie (47.1%, 46 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.8%, 31 GP)
Johnny Gaudreau (48.2%, 45 GP)
Corsi for%: Matt Beleskey (55.3%, 45 GP)
Patrick Maroon (54.1%, 38 GP)
Fenwick for%: Patrick Maroon (56.8%, 38 GP)
Matt Beleskey (55.8%, 45 GP)
Possible starting lineups
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Josh Jooris||Jiri Hudler|
|Lance Bouma||Sean Monahan||David Jones|
|Mason Raymond||Mikael Backlund||Joe Colborne|
|Brandon Bollig||Matt Stajan||Paul Byron|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Mark Giordano||TJ Brodie|
|Kris Russell||Dennis Wideman|
|Rafa Diaz||Deryk Engelland|
|Los Angeles Kings|
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Patrick Maroon||Ryan Getzlaf||Corey Perry|
|Matt Beleskey||Ryan Kesler||Kyle Palmieri|
|Andrew Cogliano||Rickard Rakell||Jakob Silfverberg|
|Rene Bourque||Nate Thompson||Tim Jackman|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Francois Beauchemin||Hampus Lindholm|
|Cam Fowler||Ben Lovejoy|
|Clayton Stoner||Sami Vatanen|
Markus Granlund sits so Brandon Bollig can play another six minutes tonight. I'm sure he'll do absolutely nothing of value. Also, playing Josh Jooris over Mikael Backlund makes zero sense, because Backlund is... you know... the much better player...? Also, it doesn't matter how much you put him up there, Lance Bouma is not a top six forward and he won't magically become one. Also also, while Wotherspoon wasn't expected to play tonight, I'm still dreaming of a day we get to see a defence lineup without a hint of Smid or Engelland. One day, I'm sure. Even if it's three years from now when both of their contracts have run out...