By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks will get their first look at their new division rival tonight at Honda Center, as the Calgary Flames come to town for what should be a closely contested battle between two hot teams.
Anaheim enters tonight’s game riding a four-game winning streak after dropping its season opener in Colorado. The Flames come to Southern California still without a regulation loss (3-0-2), and are led by 2013 first-round draft pick Sean Monahan.
“Just [watching him] on tape, he knows where the net is,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau, on Calgary’s sixth overall selection Monahan. “He’s always around the puck, and he can skate. I think they hit a home run drafting him.” Monahan, who turned 19 years old just four days ago, posted back-to-back 78-point seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League before making his NHL debut this season.
Although players come and go from season to season, one thing has remained the same regarding these two teams at Honda Center. The Ducks have not lost to the Flames at home in 16 consecutive regular season games, dating all the way back to January 19, 2004. In fact, it’s the longest home win streak against one opponent in franchise history.
To put things into perspective, the Ducks haven’t lost at home to the Flames since captain Ryan Getzlaf was still in juniors.
“I was in Calgary,” he said with a laugh. Getzlaf was a member of the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen at the time. “The media is the only one who ever knows that stuff. The players in the room don’t know. We go on a year-to-year basis. You have some rivalries with different groups and different teams. But, between the media and the coaches, they’re probably the only ones who know that streak is intact.”
In order for the Ducks to increase their home win streak against the Flames to 17, they’ll have to neutralize a team full of confidence.
“They’re a hard-working team that’s got a lot of confidence right now,” said Boudreau. “Everybody counted them out at the beginning of the year, and they’ve defied that. They’ve said ‘To hell with that. We’re a good team,’ and they’ve proven it so far. We realized how hard they worked last year. And, they didn’t have success last year. They’re going to be a really tough opponent.”
Ducks forward Emerson Etem says another fast start is paramount to success against a tough Flames squad. “We just need to keep going with our starts,” he said. “That’s the main goal each and every game. We need to come right out of the gate and make sure we’re getting pucks deep and not turning it over at both lines. Just play a simple game.”
Mathieu Perreault says success is also achieved by sticking to the system. “Keep the puck going forward, use our speed and get in on the forecheck,” he said. “We have so much speed on this team. This is when we’re good. We keep the puck moving and getting in on the forecheck.”
“He looked good enough to play,” said Boudreau. “Whether I play him is a different story, but he looked good to play.”
Devante Smith-Pelly has been reassigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, the Ducks announced today. Smith-Pelly did not make an appearance for the Ducks following his October 14 recall.
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