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Ducks/Flames Preview

The forwards are almost healthy, if only we could say the same for the defense. Either way though, gotta beat Calgary.

Jeff Gross

A couple of years ago, the NHL announced its plans for the "Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown" as a special bonus National broadcast for NBC. Back then, a younger, more naive blogger who may or may not go by the same name as I, thought that since the Ducks play Chicago on Thanksgiving Friday afternoon so often, it might be an opportunity for some additional national exposure for our Duckies.

Alas, all it meant was a change in the schedule so that Calgary took Chicago's place and the chances of the Ducks getting on NBC proper went back to those of a snowball in Anaheim. Then again, based on Tuesday night's "performance" national exposure can be a double edged sword.

Keys to the Game: Ducks vs. Calgary? Check! In Anaheim? Check! After Jan 19, 2004? Check! Automatic win. On to San Jose!

.... yeah, don't do that. Not that any of the players are actually thinking about the past nine years or so of dominance over Calgary on Honda Center/Arrowhead Pond ice, but they are only three points shy of doubling Calgary's total in the standings. Meanwhile tomorrow night they'll play a Sharks team that is playing quite well, and tied with the Ducks at the top of the Pacific Division standings.

Trap game. Don't fall into it.

What Can We Learn From this Game: Saku Koivu was cleared for contact on Wednesday, practiced yesterday and barring any setbacks could be in the lineup this afternoon. As such, and thanks to the curious acquisition of Tim Jackman from these very same Calgary Flames, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly were sent down to Norfolk on Wednesday. They each tallied three points in the Ads' win over Charlotte.

Thinking positively/logically, that means the return of the Andrew Cogliano - Koivu - Daniel Winnik line. Also we'll most likely see Kyle Palmieri alongside Matheiu Perreault and Teemu Selanne (unless he rests for Saturday back to back game in San Jose) and some combination of Nick Bonino, Patrick Maroon, Matt Beleskey and Jackman on the fourth line.

Personally, I'd prefer Etem, even in fourth line minutes, over Jackman but two-way contracts being what they are, it's not all that surprising for him to be back in Virginia for a bit.

If it wasn't for Jakob Sifverberg (remember him?) working himself back into shape, the Ducks would be at full strength up front. The defense, on the other hand is still hurting. Francois Beauchemin and Bryan Allen will still be out of the lineup, with the latter hoping to skate in San Jose.

Fearless Prediction: The early start, the fact that they're playing Calgary and leftovers, in no particular order, make this game a bit of a slog.

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.