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Preview: Game 1 Calgary Flames @ Anaheim Ducks

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The 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to begin for the Flames as they head to Anaheim for Game 1 of their best of seven series with the Ducks.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames @ Anaheim Ducks, Game 1, 8:30 PM MT, Honda Center, Anaheim CA
Broadcast Schedule
Radio: Sportsnet 960

The Flames are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the the first time since 2014-15 when they advanced to the second round, only to be eliminated by, you guessed it, the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames went 1-4-0 against Anaheim this season, with their only win being an 8-3 thumping at the Saddledome back on December 4th. Calgary’s struggles with the Ducks are well documented and this season was no different. In Calgary’s 4 losses they were out scored 14-6 and had more penalties in the final meeting (15) than total goals against Anaheim this season. The Flames showed some spark in their last loss to the Ducks, but they let the Ducks get under their skin and it worked perfectly.....if you were Anaheim. It remains to be seen what impact Mark Giordano’s hit on Cam Fowler will have in this series. Fowler is still out after the knee on knee hit that sparked the penalty filled 3rd period of their last meeting. While it is probably tempting to think this series may take a detour into the gutter, this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and there is only one goal: win the Cup. So maybe revenge and nonsense will take a back seat to trying to advance in the playoffs.

The Flames have their work cut out for them as they open the series in Anaheim, where they’ve dropped 27 straight and they’ll need to get wins at Honda Center if they have any hope of advancing to the next round.

Here’s the projected lines and injuries for both teams as they head into Game 1.

Calgary Flames
Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Micheal Ferland
Michael Frolik-Mikael Backlund-Matthew Tkachuk
Kris Versteeg-Sam Bennett-Alex Chiasson
Troy Brouwer-Matt Stajan-Lance Bouma
Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie-Michael Stone
Matt Bartkowski-Deryk Engelland
Brian Elliott (S)
Jon Gillies

Injuries: Chad Johnson, Ladislav Smid (IR)

Anaheim Ducks
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Getzlaf-Patrick Eaves
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Ondrej Kase-Antoine Vermette-Corey Perry
Chris Wagner-Nate Thompson-Logan Shaw
Sami Vatanen-Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Montour
Shea Theodore-Kevin Bieksa
John Gibson (S)
Jonathan Bernier

Injuries: Korbinian Holzer, Cam Fowler, Clayton Stoner, Simon Despres

What’s Being Said

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Calgary Flames at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Gaudreau (F). It’s time for Johnny Hockey to shine in the playoffs and he’s done well against Anaheim this season. In 5 games against the Ducks, Gaudreau has 1 goal and 3 assists, which upped his career total to 13 points in 14 career games against Anaheim. Those are the kind of numbers the Flames will need from Gaudreau if they have any hope of advancing.

Anaheim Ducks

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kesler (F). Not only is Kesler a thorn in the side of the Flames, he’s also had some of his best games against Calgary. In 5 games this season he has 4 goals, 5 assists and 18 PIM. Over his last 15 games against the Flames, Kesler has 15 points and he always seems to be around where the scrums start. Going back his days with Vancouver, Kesler and the Flames have always been at odds with each other and it won’t be ending anytime soon.