The Anaheim Ducks travel to Calgary following one of their best efforts of the season in Vancouver on Sunday. Anaheim opened up a 2-0 lead in the 1st period and didn’t look back, as they throttled the Canucks for a 5-1 win. They haven’t had much to celebrate this season, but there was a reason to smile in Vancouver on Sunday. That being said, the Ducks can’t relax much, because they’ll be back out on the ice Monday night on a back-to-back in Western Canada.
It’s not the easiest part of the schedule for the Ducks, though they handled last night extremely well. This is the final game of a lengthy stretch that has seen the Ducks play seven of eight games on the road. Calgary will make it the seventh and final stop before going home. They will then play six straight at the Honda Center, so that’s some good news. It hasn’t been an easy stretch for the Ducks, but they’ve played extremely well. They’ve won four of six games, and earned a point with overtime losses in two games.
A win or loss in extra time against the Flames would guarantee at least a point in seven straight road games. There are some really good teams who will be going to the playoffs that wish they could claim that. At the end of the day, though, the Ducks are not going to be going to the playoffs. Maybe if they played earlier in the season, this recent success would mean something at the moment.
As it is, the Ducks are going into Monday with a record of 24-27-7 and 55 points. That’s good for 7th in the Pacific Division, better than the Kings by 8 points. The Ducks did the Flames a favour with their performance in Vancouver yesterday. With an Oilers’ win yesterday, the Canucks slipped out of the top spot in the division. Calgary is 4 points behind the Oilers for 1st, though they’d still be in with a wildcard if the playoffs started today.
The scoreboard didn’t suggest that the Flames are a playoff team Saturday night. They were torched, 8-4, after David Rittich and Cam Talbot both got blasted. It was a closer game than the score indicated, but Rittich and Talbot were unable to stop a beach ball. We’ll see what kind of response they have against the Ducks, who have been playing well recently. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Flames pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames Betting Odds:
Ducks vs. Flames Prediction:
David Rittich allowed 4 goals on 15 shots and Cam Talbot was lousy as well, with 4 goals against on 13 shots. On the other side of the ice, the offence for the Flames did all they could, as they fired off 42 shots at Robin Lehner. Lehner is a good goaltender, and they still beat him for 4 goals, so that was a positive in the 8-4 loss. The loss bumped the Flames down to 30-24-6 on the season. That doesn’t really look like a team who deserves to go to the playoffs right now.
There is still plenty of time left this season, though. The offence was struggling earlier in the season. However, they have scored 3.8 goals a game in their last ten outings, so again, that’s a good sign. Overall, the Flames are 22nd in the league with 2.8 goals per game. In other words, the offence has been looking sharper of late. Although, the defence and goaltending has taken a backseat to that. They’ve allowed the same as they’ve scored, with 3.8 goals allowed per game.
Rittich must be better for the Flames with the playoff race heating up. I think that’s what it will come down to in Calgary. Rittich holds a 2.93 GAA and 0.908 save percentage. He is expected to be better than that. Could he look better against the Ducks on Monday? You have to believe, it’ll be a much better day in this one than the disaster on Saturday. This recent surge by the Ducks has been uncharacteristic for them, especially because it’s taken place on the road. On the season, the Ducks have notched just 2.52 goals per game for 29th in the league.
Anaheim has recorded only 2.44 goals a game versus 3.22 goals against per game on the road. So, the Ducks’ recent play is not a reflection of the bigger picture. A larger sample size suggests that this may be an outlier for the Ducks. They enter Calgary with a record of 12-16-4 on the road. It’s within reason to believe that the Ducks will come down to earth in this contest. They’re likely going to feel too comfortable going into Calgary on a back-to-back following the success yesterday. Being comfortable is fine, but too comfortable can result in lazy play. And what happened on Saturday night for the Flames, don’t expect them to play a lazy game. I’m on the Flames to defeat the Ducks in regulation.