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Preview: Game 4: Calgary Flames vs Anaheim Ducks

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Well, this could be it. The Flames will try to avoid elimination tonight at home against the Ducks.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames vs Anaheim Ducks, 8 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB
Broadcast Schedule
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Radio: Sportsnet 960

It all comes down to tonight. The Flames can either win and give themselves a smidgen of hope OR they will lose and be eliminated with a Ducks win. Calgary dropped Monday night’s contest 5-4 in OT and when all was said and done they were down 3-0.

NOTHING has gone Calgary’s way in this series so far and Game 3 was more of the same. Calgary roared out to a 4-1 lead in commanding fashion, but the weird, unexplained and just plain dumb began happening. Two goals deflected off of Flames players and a questionable goal that may or may not have been scored with a high stick found the Flames tied at 4 and all the momentum going Anaheim’s way.

It’s not a question of whether the Flames can play with the Ducks because they have. Calgary has certainly earned the right to have won at least one of these games. At WORST Calgary should be down 2-1. At BEST they should be up 2-1. That’s how unlucky the Flames have been. This series, at 3-0, is probably the most surprising 3 game lead any team could have. So it’s do or die time for the Flames. Calgary now needs to win at home, at Anaheim and again at home just to get to Game 7. The way they have played says it’s possible, but the results say that chances are slim.

Here’s our recap of Game 3 and the highlights from NHL.com.

As for who’s in the lineup and who’s not, that appears to be a game time decision. Glen Gulutzan has promised there will be changes for Game 4, which could spark the Flames, but it’s not like Calgary has been outplayed this entire series.

Projected Lines

Calgary Flames
Forwards
Johnny Gaudreau-SeanMonahan-Micheal Ferland
Michael Frolik-Mikael Backlund-Matthew Tkachuk
Kris Versteeg-Sam Bennett-Alex Chiasson
Troy Brouwer-Matt Stajan-Lance Bouma
Defence
Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie-Michael Stone
Deryk Engelland-Matt Bartkowski
Goalies
Brian Elliott (S)
Chad Johnson
Anaheim Ducks
Forwards
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Getzlaf-Patrick Eaves
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Ondrej-Antoine Vermette-Corey Perry
Chris Wagner-Nate Thompson-Logan Shaw
Defence
Sami Vatanen-Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Montour
Shea Theadore-Kevin Bieksa
Goalies
John Gibson (S)
Jonathan Bernier

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Monahan (C). Monahan has 3 goals in 3 games during this series and has had ample scoring opportunities throughout. If the Flames are going to get one game under their belt, Monahan’s play will have to be front and centre for the Flames to have a chance to make this a series.

Anaheim Ducks

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

John Gibson (G). You have to think Gibson will get the start again in Game 4 after being pulled in Game 3. Gibson gave up 4 goals on 12 shots and was yanked after Sam Bennett scored the Flames 4th and final goal. The Ducks will need Gibson to be strong from the start, but the Flames can only hope that the Gibson from Game 3 shows up tonight.

Flames Keys To Victory

-Score, Score, Score some more. If Monday night proved anything, the Flames need to keep their foot on the pedal, even with a lead. 4 goals clearly isn’t enough to beat the Ducks.

-Stop the deflections. The Ducks keep scoring off of Calgary players. It’s hard enough to win when the opposition is scoring, it’s harder when you are putting them in for the opposition.

-Don’t blow a 3 goal lead. Self explanatory.

Conclusion

Calgary is teetering on the brink of elimination and by judging how the bounces have gone so far this series, it doesn’t look good. The Ducks should be smelling the blood in the water and Calgary desperately needs Brian Elliott to come up big in game 4. The Flames got their keeper 4 goals last time out, but it wasn’t enough. It may take 6, 7, 8, 20 goals to win a game in this series, but it appears the Flames may be flickering as opposed to roaring.