Ducks look to continue second-half surge vs. Flames
Sunday, 01.17.2010 / 2:00 PM
NHL.comFLAMES (26-16-6) at DUCKS (21-20-7)
Calgary 5-4-1; Anaheim 6-4-0
Second of four meetings this season. Teemu Selanne
scored in the shootout as Anaheim beat Calgary 3-2 at the Honda Center on Nov. 23. Jarome Iginla forced overtime for the Flames when he scored with 18 seconds left in regulation, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere finished with 41 saves and was flawless in the shootout.
Are the Ducks gearing up for another second-half run? While they once seemed buried in the standings, a recent five-game winning streak has Anaheim on the verge of escaping the Pacific Division basement, and its deficit for making the top eight in the Western Conference remains in single digits. Last season the Ducks rallied to claim the eighth seed and then upset the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Goals have been a scarce commodity in Calgary of late, with the Flames managing just three of them during an 0-2-1 homestand that culminated in Friday's 1-0 loss to the visiting Predators. One player who doesn't seem concerned by the scoring drought is the guy paid to keep pucks out of the net, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
"We're having a tough time scoring goals right now but it will change," he said. "Look at our lineup, we have a lot of guys who can score goals so probably next game it will open up and we'll be fine."
Far more troubling for Anaheim than the 4-0 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday that ended its five-game roll are the injuries to Selanne and Saku Koivu
that have taken two of the team's top-six point producers out of the lineup. Selanne suffered a broken jaw Wednesday against Boston when he was hit by teammate Ryan Whitney's shot, and could miss up to six weeks. Koivu sprained his knee against the Kings and will miss at least a week. Veteran forward Todd Marchant
wasn't willing to use Selanne's absence as an excuse for why the Ducks didn't play better against the Kings.
"We had lost Teemu earlier in the year with his hand injury, so you know what, I don't think you can pinpoint it on saying that, well, we didn't play well tonight or we didn't win the game tonight because we didn’t have Teemu Selanne
," Marchant said. "There's nothing against Teemu, he's a great player for us, a great leader. But we just didn't have our game tonight and, you know, bottom line is they wanted it more than we did in a lot of situations. And we just didn't work hard enough and compete hard enough in certain areas and it showed."
Rene Bourque of the Flames has three goals and four points in his last five games. … Corey Perry
recorded a point in each game of the Ducks' winning streak, putting up two goals and three assists.
In addition to Selanne and Koivu, forward Joffrey Lupul
is out indefinitely for Anaheim after he had back surgery and subsequently developed an infection.
The Ducks have won 10 straight home games against the Flames since a 5-1 loss on Jan. 19, 2004. … Iginla has been held without a point in six straight, his longest scoring drought since Nov. 10-22, 1997.
Anaheim can hardly afford to lose another top forward, but Bobby Ryan
could face a suspension after receiving a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct late in the loss to Los Angeles. No discipline had been announced as of Saturday, and Ryan wasn't concerned about missing time as the result of a League review of his hit on Oscar Moller.
"I'd be very surprised," Ryan told the Orange County Register. "I coasted for 10 feet before I hit him. I did definitely take some strides in that direction. But I came in and watched what I did right away. Everything was down, my hands. It was a clean hit. He had his head down. It's part of the game."