Morning Skate Report: Flames @ Ducks
THE DISNEYLAND CURSE
The Flames will endeavor to do something they haven't done in 15 previous attempts; leave the Honda Center with a victory over the Ducks.
The last time a Calgary squad celebrated a win in Anaheim Craig Conroy notched four assists while teammates Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew collected a pair of assists. Roman Turek chalked up a win and the Flames left Orange County a happy bunch prevailing 5-1 over the Ducks.
It was January 19, 2004.
Calgary has always had difficulty in Anaheim but have come close on several occasions. Last season it took eight rounds in a shootout before Niklas Hagman slid the puck past Miikka Kipruosoff and Mikael Backlund failed to beat Jonas Hiller.
“This is a new year and I don’t think there’s a whole lot that carries over,” said forward Alex Tanguay. “We’re not really worried about that, we have to play a solid game tonight. We know what they’re about and for us we go with what makes us successful.”
The Flames will be looking to carry the momentum from two big home wins into the Honda Center tonight hoping for a better fate in Orange County.
“You can’t go with what went on last year or the last five years,” quipped bench boss Bob Hartley. “This is a game where you have to prepare for every battle."
"I told the players – we beat Vancouver at home we beat San Jose, two teams ahead of us and that’s the only way that we’re going to be a playoff team.”
JUST DUCKY IN THE O.C.
The Flames are facing one of the hottest teams in the league tonight.
The Ducks have only three regulation defeats to date and boast 16 victories to their credit. Only the Chicago Blackhawks and their ridiculous streak have more wins than the Ducks.
“Tonight we are facing one of the hottest teams in the league,” said Hartley. “It’s a great challenge for us – it’s 20 guys and I told them if there is one passenger in our big fire truck we are in trouble."
“We need 20 guys going out there battling. I like our team and the way we compete and if we stay out of the box and play hard I like our chances.”
The Flames are on a roll as well having earned points in five of their last six outings and winners of their last two. They will need all hands on deck tonight however as the Ducks are also looking to extend a home-game winning streak to 11 games which would equal a franchise record.
Flames head coach Bob Hartley has opted to remove rookie forward Sven Baertschi from the lineup for the contest tonight.
With the Ducks exhibiting the heaviest lineup in the entire league, it was decided that the under-sized product of Bern, Switzerland would watch from the press box.
“Sven tonight, he’s a healthy scratch,” the head coach said. “The Ducks are a big team, and I want the biggest possible team in the lineup.”
Steve Begin will draw into the lineup and replace Baertschi.
The 20-year-old forward has no goals and one assist to his credit and a minus-2 rating this season in 10 matches.
“He’s a very young player,” Hartley said. “He a lot to offer but at the same time, he has a lot to learn.
“It’s not the first time a young kid is getting scratched, and it won’t be the last time.”
“I’m going to talk to Sven this afternoon more in detail about the reasons he’s not in the lineup,” Hartley said. “I shouldn’t say the reasons why he’s in the lineup, it should be the reasons why he’s going to be a full-time NHL player.
BACKLUND CLOSE TO RETURNING
Mikael Backlund joined the team on their three-game swing across California and although he has been skating with the team for over a week it appears he is close to a return.
“After practice today he feels very good, he’s very close to being cleared by the medical staff to play,” Hartley said of Backlund. “Conditioning wide I think he’s ready to go he just needs the green light from the doctors.
Backlund suffered a knee injury in the Flames 4-3 overtime win over Columbus on February 7th and has now missed 13 games.
The 23-year-old center scored three times in his first eight games and it’s his third significant injury since the beginning of last season. The Flames’ first-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft missed nearly six weeks after breaking a finger in training camp in 2011-12. Then the skilled Swede suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in mid-February.