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Game 79: Ducks At Flames
By Julius Choi
Anaheim(32-36-10) vs Calgary(47-23-7)
Pregame Show: DucksNPucks Podcast
TV: 6:00 PM PT/9:00 PM ET, Prime Ticket
Radio: KLAA AM 830
Post Game Show: Duck Calls with Josh Brewster AM 830
There is not much to play for other than gain some positioning for the NHL draft lottery. However, the Anaheim Ducks do not appear to intentionally drop games in favor of the #LoseForHughes sweepstakes as they have gone 4-1-1 in the last six games. Anaheim has embraced their role as a spoiler, with two of those wins coming against playoff teams. To this point, look at the Colorado Avalanche who occupy the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Arizona Coyotes are just out of the playoff picture with 81 points with five games left to go.
The Anaheim Ducks have recalled defenseman Jake Dotchin from the San Diego Gulls on Thursday. Dotchin has nearly evenly split time in both San Diego. He has spent 15 of the 35 games he’s played this season in the AHL where he notched four goals and six points. Josh Manson is out tonight after the awkward collision he suffered in the game against Vancouver.
Part of the reason for the Ducks’ demise this season has been the disappearance of able NHL bodies due to injuries. But with four games left, Anaheim should be looking ahead and shut down the rest of the players that are on the IR so they can begin the road to recovery sooner. Doing so has allowed the team to get the younger players like Sam Steel, Troy Terry and Max Jones some reps in.
Nick Ritchie is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Calgary Flames are currently the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference as they have garnered 101 points. The 47 games they have won is the third most wins in a season in franchise history and the highest win total since 1988-89 (54). If the standings are how they are today, Calgary will win its first division championship since 2005-06 where they lost to then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first round.
Although the Carolina Hurricanes are in good standings themselves, they had a big hand in Calgary’s success this season as well. Both Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin seem to fit right into the system after being traded to the Flames this past offseason. Lindholm is having a breakout season, tallying 77 points (27 goals) with 26 of them coming from the power play. Hanifin has been slotted in the second pairing with Travis Hamonic.
Although Calgary is currently on a two-game losing streak while being outscored 5-1 in those games, the Flames average the fourth most potent offense in the league with 3.49 goals per game average.
Now in his fifth season in the NHL, Johnny Gaudreau leads the team in goals (35), assists (58) and points (93). Not only is 93 points a career-high for Gaudreau, but it also ranks top 10 in the league.
Johnny Gaudreau – Derek Ryan – Michael Frolik
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Elias Lindholm
James Neal – Sean Monahan – Austin Czarnik
Andrew Mangiapane – Mark Jankowski – Garnet Hathaway
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March 29th, 2018