Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Ducks

Notes from the Flames pre-game skate on Mar. 12, 2014

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 1:25 PM
Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)

JUMPING BACK IN

There is no question that the 2013-14 campaign has been incredibly frustrating for Curtis Glencross.

The winger has been hit by two major injuries this season: a second degree MCL sprain in November that left him sitting on the sidelines for 15 games and a high ankle sprain, which had him on the shelf for 29 games.

He's hoping to put that vexation behind him tonight when he makes his return to the lineup.

"Right now, I'm just trying to stay as positive as I can," he smiled. "It's been a tough year. I'm going to take one shift at a time and go from there. Keep it simple and get my feet back under me to start."

When you're out for such a lengthy amount of time, doubts can creep into players minds about their readiness and Glencross is prepared for that.

"Most of it's confidence thing and trusting that it's completely healed. Getting that hammered into your head," he explained. "You've got to put yourself in situations where you might [be] a little uneasy to get into but you have to. You have to definitely leap in head first and test it out."

With the Flames sitting 13th in the West, the playoffs may be out of reach but Glencross isn't lacking any motivation for the final stretch of the games. He wants to provide leadership to the vast array of rookies in the locker room and end the season on a strong note, both personally and as a team.

"We know where we're at. We know we're in a spot where we're doing a build and it's a big evaluation stretch for our team," the 31-year-old said. "There's going to be a lot of different situations where a lot of different guys are put in. We've got to be open to whatever the coaching staff wants to do.

"The biggest part, for myself, is getting that mental game back and take it one game, one period at a time. And try to be there for the young guys to lean on ... keep them guys positive and keep their mind on track."

Through 21 games this season, Glencross has scored six goals and 12 points. He has three points in his last four games played.

"Things were just starting to get rolling again when I got hurt in Pittsburgh. Hopefully it doesn't take too long to get back the timing ... hopefully we can get the bugs out of the way early and get better and better as the game goes on."

Glencross will likely play on a line with TJ Galiardi and Brian McGrattan tonight.

Kevin Westgarth, who was injured on Mar. 1 in Edmonton, will also return tonight. He will likely skate on a line with rookies Corban Knight and Ben Hanowski this evening.

FIFTH STRAIGHT START FOR ORTS

Joni Ortio will make his fifth consecutive start tonight for the Flames, in what may be his most challenging game yet. The Anaheim Ducks are a physical imposing group who don't mind crashing the net. They're second in the league in goals scored with 206, trailing just the Chicago Blackhawks (218), and they sitting in second place in the Western Conference with 93 points.

According to had coach Bob Hartley, this game is a great evaluation period for the organization.

"We want to know, 'Who is Joni Ortio?'" Hartley said in his post-practice media address. "The best way is to put him in net. Over the weekend, I haven't decided on my plan. Maybe we're going to see Mac but at the same time, I think it's a great learning experience for Joni."

The Flames 2009 sixth round pick has stopped 107 of the 118 shots he has faced in five games with the Flames. His GAA currently sits at 2.24 and he has a .907 save percentage.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH THE DUCKS

Last 10 games vs. the Ducks: 3-6-1

Last 10 games vs. the Ducks in Calgary: 6-3-1

All-time vs. the Ducks: 34-35-7-5-3

All-time vs. the Ducks in Calgary: 26-13-1-1-0

Calgary has won three of the last four games vs. the Ducks at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames have shutout Anaheim in three of the last 15 outings in Calgary, with the most recent Ducks goose egg coming on Jan. 12, 2012.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY T-SPOON

Rookie defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon is celebrating his 21st birthday today and will celebrate by playing in his fourth NHL game. He made his debut on Mar. 7 in the Flames 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders and collected his first NHL point on Mar. 8 when he assisted on Brian McGrattan's goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Flames drafted the Surrey, BC native in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

LIKE A BRICKWALL

The Flames have three players amongst the NHL's top 10 shot blockers; Chris Butler is third in the league with 169, Ladislav Smid is tied for fifth with 152, and Kris Russell sits in eighth with 142.

Lance Bouma is third amongst NHL forwards with 64 blocked shots.

QUOTABLE

"Two is a streak, three is a habit. If he keeps it going, we've got a goal-scorer here." - Kevin Westgarth on Brian McGrattan's two-game scoring streak.

MILESTONES WITHIN REACH

Mikael Backlund needs 8 points for 100.

Brian McGrattan needs 8 games for 300.

BROADCAST INFO

Tonight's tilt will be broadcast on Sportsnet West (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio) at 8:00 PM MST.

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