Anaheim Ducks (11-4-4) at Calgary Flames (11-6-2)
|Date & Time||Tuesday November 18, 2014, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Calgary Flames +114 / Anaheim Ducks -125 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Anaheim Ducks got off to a great start to the season but things have not been going too well in the month of November. Anaheim has won just two games since the turn of the calendar and Sunday’s embarrassing loss at home to the Florida Panthers should really serve as a wake up call for this club. It’s one thing to lose hockey games, but it’s another to get absolutely dominated by a team that you should be much better than on your home ice. Every one was to blame in this one as the Ducks’ defense looked like Swiss cheese and Frederik Andersen couldn’t do anything to bail out his teammates while in goal. Hampus Lindholm scored a first period goal to get the Ducks even before the end of the first period but that was one of the only highlights for Anaheim in this one. The good news is that Corey Perry did return to the lineup and was one of the better players for the Ducks. Again though, that’s not saying much because Anaheim was just awful in ths one. Florida scored four times in the second period and added another goal early in the third as they went on to rout the Ducks by a score of 6-2. There has to be a stronger commitment to team defense for Anaheim because the goals that the Panthers were scoring in this one were just too easy. Clayton Stoner was a team high -4 on the night in just over 18 minutes of ice time. Andrew Cogliano led the team with five shots on goal. The losing has been bad enough for the Ducks but sometimes it takes an embarrassing game like this to really serve as a wake up call. If the Ducks don’t come out flying on Tuesday night in Calgary there might be bigger problems for the Ducks because there’s no excuse not to play a good game against the Flames.
Calgary is no slouch this season either. The Flames are starting to see some progress from their young talent and adding another dynamic rookie like Johnny Gaudreau into the mix has helped things progress even more quickly. The Flames are in third in the Pacific Division but their 11-6-2 start to the season has to be one of the bigger surprises at the start of the year. The Flames enter Tuesday night’s game winners of two straight and Saturday night it was some timely third period goals that proved to be the difference against the Ottawa Senators. Markus Grandlund’s third goal of the season gave the Flames the 2-1 lead early in the third and Josh Jooris’ fourth of the year came on the power play to make it 3-1. Ottawa cut the lead to a goal but Lance Bouma added his fifth of the season to secure the 4-2 win for the Flames. Paul Byron also scored for Calgary. Karri Ramo stopped 23 of 25 shots to pick up his third victory of the season. The goaltending in Calgary is still going to be a question moving forward but all the Flames are looking for right now are guys who can keep them in hockey games and just don’t lose them. Ramo and Jonas Hiller have been able to do that and they both can be very important to the success that the Flames ultimately have this season. Mark Giordano is off to a brilliant start on the blueline, leading the club with 21 points in 19 games and a +8 rating. Add to that the progression of T.J. Brodie and it’s understandable why the Flames look much improved to start the year.
This Calgary club is a lot of fun to watch and that’s something that hasn’t been said about the Flames as an organization for a number of years now. Tuesday night’s tilt should be a good one and if Hiller gets a shot against his former club there’s some extra motivation in there. Unfortunately for the Flames they have to face Anaheim off this embarrassing loss. If Calgary wants to win this game they need to use their speed and expose this shaky Ducks defense. Anaheim needs to come out and play their best period of the season to get things started and if they do they should be fine.