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Thoughts and Observations on a Flames-Ducks Game Day

March 10, 2023, 6:17 PM ET [25 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The pins are set, the shoes are tied, and the tacky bowling shirts are buttoned. Over the next 34 days, we’ll find out whether the Calgary Flames can strike their way past Winnipeg and Nashville in order to find their way into a wildcard spot.

A few notes on the race.

Former Flames
The Arizona Coyotes did Calgary a big favour last night by beating Nashville 4-1. The Predators have three games in hand (62) on the Flames and trail them by two points.

The second star of the night was none other than Brett Ritchie, who was traded along with Connor Mackey for Brett’s brother Nick as well as defenceman Troy Stetcher. The Ritchie brothers now both have a goal a piece for their new teams.

Mackey had a rough game against the Predators — underlined by a holding call late in the second and a puck over-the-glass penalty early in the third. Prior to that performance though, Mackey had an assist in each of his first two games for the Coyotes.

Good to see both players finding success.

The Jets are at equal with the Flames in games played, 65, but lead by four points. Their record in their last ten, 2-6-2, is far from acceptable. With the Panthers, Lightning, Hurricanes and Bruins as their opposition in their next four games — this could come down to the wire.

The Jets have the third-worst defence since February 19 with 39 goals against.

The Magic Number
Calgary has 71 points with 17 games remaining. Realistically, they may need around 96 points to make the show. That’s 25 of a possible 34 points or a 10-2-5 record. Still highly unlikely, but perhaps that bar drops lower if the Jets and Predators go on extended cold streaks.

The Gauntlet
March 16-28 has a game against the Stars, two games against the Golden Knights, two games against LA, and games against the Sharks and Ducks sprinkled in there for good measure. Every one of those dates will involve an opposition eager to deliver the killing blow on Calgary’s playoff hopes. Those 12 days will decide everything.

On to the game against the Ducks tonight.

The Ducks
For those that don’t remember their first meeting on December 23, 2022, that may be due to the event falling under the umbrella of your typical 22-23 Flames game.

The Flames blew two one-goal leads to let the game go into overtime. Shots were 44-23 in favour of Calgary heading into the extra period. Calgary put up a 23-1 second period in shots. The 22-year-old rookie Ducks goalie went .933 on the night.

The only unexpected part would be Rasmus Andersson winning the game in overtime.

Heading into tonight, the Ducks are cooling down, two consecutive losses, after securing nine of ten points in the five games before that.

In their last two, the Ducks have seemed offensively stagnant. There simply hasn’t seemed to be much urgency in their approach to getting shots from the inside. Their power play registered zero high-danger chances on Wednesday against the Canucks and even featured a shorthanded goal against.

The Flames
While the odds remain quite bleak, at least a late push is exciting. The last two games have been fun to watch. Maybe that’s as complicated as it needs to get at this point in the season.

With a .936 save percentage in his last four appearances and him finally getting the monkey off his back in terms of getting a shutout, we may be seeing a return to form for starter Jacob Markstrom.

The Other Jake
Zero points in his first two games following his promotion to the first line isn’t ideal for rookie Jakob Pelletier. The line of Pelletier-Lindholm-Toffoli is 5-4 in high-danger chances against Minnesota and Dallas.

The eye test says that they’ll find their way onto the scoresheet eventually. All three have been proficient at retrieving pucks.

Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Courtesy of Pat Steinberg. @Fan960Steinberg



Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup
Per Anaheim Ducks on Twitter; here is the last game’s lineup. Unlikely to be any changes beyond Gibson starting. Update at warmups.


Trouble in Edmonton?
A scary sequence in yesterday’s 3-2 Oilers win over the Boston Bruins.

The same left knee that Connor McDavid first injured after crashing into a post. The same knee that Mark Giordano clipped leading to McDavid throwing a tantrum on the bench.

Much to the relief of all involved, McDavid eventually returned to the game.

The 26 year old superstar had a surreal night even prior to that sequence. Not only were him and fellow top five pick Leon Draisatl held pointless — McDavid got rocked in the underlying numbers. 3-9 in shots, a 27.27 CF%, and a 21.48 xGF% at 5v5. Something to keep an eye on.

Game time is 7:00 pm MST. Catch the broadcast on Sportsnet West and TVAS in Canada. Bally Sports in the United States.

Trevor Neufeld


Stats via naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com.
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