Before we get into the game preview, a couple housekeeping notes:
First, please join me in congratulating our very own writer Chris and his wife Amy on the birth of their son, Roger. For those keeping score at home, that's now two babies (Robby's son Trevor was first) born while AC has been in existence. Lord only knows how many other children Arthur, Daniel and Earl Sleek have fathered without us knowing...
Finally, another congrats is in order for our beloved SK. She's been a rock star since joining our staff and has bailed me out on numerous occasions when I couldn't get to a computer. For that she's been promoted to Associate Editor of AC. She'll be instrumental in helping me bring you guys more content, and of course random updates when I drunk-text her.
On to the preview!
Tonight is the equivalent of a Game 6 elimination game in the playoffs. The Ducks must win tonight in order to stay alive in the playoff race when they face Los Angeles (six points ahead) tomorrow night in Game 7. Calgary sits five points ahead of the Ducks, separated only by Minnesota. The Wild are two point ahead of the Ducks and are playing tonight against Detroit - in Detroit. As much as it may make you nauseous to do so, you better hope Detroit is still a juggernaut at home, even without Nicklas Lidstriom.
From his pregame comments, Bruce Boudreau made it pretty clear that they're riding Jonas Hiller until he tells them to stop (highly unlikely to happen). Boudreau also mentioned that backup goalie Dan Ellis is nowhere near ready to come back from a groin tear. Ellis is meeting with team doctors today to see if he will be able to come back at all this season. So it looks like the Ducks will probably stick with Jeff Deslauriers as the backup for the rest of the push. Between Deslauriers and Iiro Tarkki, I'm not surprised that the Ducks are going with JD. He's got more NHL experience than Tarkki, should they need to go to a backup. Speaking of a backup, Calgary is playing Leland Irving (who?!) tonight instead of Miikka Kiprusoff. Kipper played and won last night against Phoenix. Hopefully the Ducks will have better success against a guy that sounds like he could be one of my cousins from West Virginia than they did against Ryan Miller.
I hate this, by the way. The playoffs make me a nervous wreck in general, but having to experience such anxiety this early in the hockey year is brutal. I am trying to stay realistic of the chances that they'll make the playoffs, but it's just so damn hard.
Do you Boudrelieve?