Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Ducks
The Calgary Flames welcome the Anaheim Ducks to Scotiabank Saddledome tonight for their second game of a three game home stand.
The last time the Ducks were in Calgary was two weeks ago on March 12, when the Flames scored seven goals in the win, the highest total number of goals given up by the Ducks all season.
“Ducks have very good memories,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said jokingly. “I’ve already warned the guys, we have to be ready.
“This is a great team, Bruce (Boudreau) put (Corey) Perry, (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Teemu) Selanne together and to nobody’s surprise they have been pretty hot [as of late].”
In their last game versus the Florida Panthers, the line of Getzlaf, Perry and Selanne combined for three goals and five assists in a 6-2 victory.
Selanne will most likely be playing his final game against Calgary and at Scotiabank Saddledome. In his final NHL season, the 43-year-old has scored nine goals and 15 assists in 54 games, as well has helped lead Finland to a bronze medal finish in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The game will allow Backlund will get to play against one of his childhood heroes growing up, being half Finnish on his mother’s side.
“It’ll be fun, he’s always been my hero growing up,” Flames forward Backlund said. “I’ve always looked up to him, he has a passion for the game, loves to play hockey and takes care of himself.
“He’s been a big part of my career.”
Before tonight’s game, Anaheim and the Flames have met three times this year with the Ducks taking the first to games in Anaheim and the Flames winning the third game at home two weeks ago.
“It’s going to be a good challenge [tonight], Hartley said. “I love those challenges, because it allows our group to grow and to get a great gauge of where our game is.”
Flames forward Brian McGrattan will be playing in his 300th career NHL game tonight against the Ducks.
“My goal growing up was to play one game, just to say I’ve played in the NHL,” McGrattan said. “I couldn’t be happier or more blessed.
“Kids I played with growing up and in junior that were great players never even played one, so I feel truly blessed.”
McGrattan is enjoying a career year during his second season of his second stint with the Flames, setting career highs in games played (66), shots (65) and points (6) while also tying career highs in goals (3) and assists (3).
“I trained really hard in the offseason, I focused my summer last year on skill and speed training,” McGrattan said. “It’s paying off, fortunately I’ve been playing well and coaches see that and they’ve been putting me in every night.”
Since the emotional contest against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 18, McGrattan has more goals than fights, scoring twice and only dropping the mitts once since.
“We haven’t really played anyone that’s had a guy in [to fight],” McGrattan said. “If I’m playing and contributing every night, I don’t really base my game on fighting anymore.
“Obviously the fights are going to be there when the appropriate time is, maybe a couple games down the stretch I’ll get into a couple [of fights].”
Ironically, the last time Brian fought was two weeks ago in a 7-2 win against the Ducks. In that game McGrattan fought with Ducks defenceman Bryan Allan after Calgary’s fourth goal in the first period.
“I’ll give credit to [Allan], he’s a big strong defenceman, who’s been in the league a long time,” McGrattan said. “He’s fought a lot of tough guys, and does step up to the plate when he feels the [fight] needs to happen.
“Anybody that wants to go in and battle gets all my respect.”
Mike Cammalleri is six points away from 500.
Mark Giordano is seven points away from 200.
Kris Russell is seven assists away from 100.
Mark Giordano has 15 points in the past 13 games (3g+12a=15p). He has tied his career high of 43 points and set a new career high with 12 goals. He is second amongst NHL defencemen in points-per-game with 0.80%.
Mike Cammalleri has 16 points (7g+3a=9p) in the past 12 games. He has scored the game winning goal in four of the last five games.
Mikael Backlund has nine points in the past eight games. (4g+5a=9p)
Karri Ramo won his first shootout game Monday night and is now 5-0 in his last five starts.
“I think it’s great [getting a chance to sit in tonight’s game], obviously I want to play whenever I can, but I knew coming in that I probably wasn’t going to play every game. As a player, you’re competitive and you want to play, especially if you’re getting a taste [of the NHL]. If anything this is going to make me work that much harder to try and get back into the lineup.”
-Rookie Kenny Agostino on being scratched for the first time in his NHL career.
Calgary’s all-time record vs ANA: 35-35-7-5-3
All-time record Anaheim at Calgary: 27-13-1-1-0
Last 10 games Calgary vs. Anaheim: 4-5-0-1
Last 10 games Anaheim at Calgary: 6-3-1-0
Tonight’s game between the Flames and Ducks will be broadcast on TSN and Sportsnet 960 The Fan at 8 p.m. MST.