The Calgary Flames playoff hopes are hanging by a thread and
the Anaheim Ducks look to deal them what could be a knockout blow on Wednesday
The Flames have had plenty of problems with the Ducks
this season and unless they can figure out a way to solve them in this matchup,
they’ll find themselves on the wrong end of a season sweep.
The Anaheim Ducks
Can Win Because…:
They have owned the Flames in recent meetings. The Ducks
have won eight of last 11 matchups including all three season, edging the
Flames by one goal each time.
As a team, the Anaheim Ducks are hot right now after winning 11
of their last 14 games. As has been the case for them all season long when
their top line is cooking and their goaltending is reliable, they tend to win.
Since being called up from the minors, goaltender Ray
Emery has been outstanding. He is 5-0-0 in that span with a 1.88 GAA.
Meanwhile, the Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan has
been on fire, accounting for 19 goals and 36 assists in the last 14 games.
The Flames are playing pretty lousy hockey right now with
just two wins in their last eight games. Their latest win was pathetic as they
had to climb out of a 4-1 hole against the league-worst Edmonton Oilers to
salvage a 5-4 shootout win.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been awful of late as he
has a GAA of 3.86 in his last six starts. Another effort of that caliber will
earn them another loss.
The Calgary Flames
Can Win Because…:
They are back at home.
On the season, Calgary is 22-12-4 at home and while
that’s a good omen to begin with, they only have five games left on the season
and they can’t afford to blow opportunities where they are expected to win (by
the NHL odds makers).
They’ll be rested and prepared for this game as they have
had three days off since last playing on Saturday night.
There is no doubt that the urgency lies with the Flames
in this contest and after an inspiring third period three-goal comeback win on
Saturday, they should have a little more pep in their step.
The Calgary Flames got a boost when the Chicago Blackhawks lost
on Tuesday night to the Boston Bruins. The Flames are chasing the Blackhawks
and the Blackhawks had two extra games in hand along with a three-point lead in
the standings. The Blackhawks blew one of those games in hand and that should
inspire the Flames to believe a little bit more and try harder on Wednesday.
Outlook & NHL
In all fairness to the Flames, this looks like good value
for the Ducks in this spot. The Flames just look like a desperate team that
isn’t playing with much desperation. They are gripping the stick a little too
tight – as evidenced by the 4-1 hole they climbed into against the Oilers on
Saturday – and they have just two wins in their last eight.
Anaheim is cruising right now with wins in 11 of their
last 14 and they have won eight of 11 in this series. They should have a big
edge in net as Kiprusoff continues to struggle.
Take the value with the Ducks in this spot.