The Ducks have had a pretty good run of games since Teemu Night, but those have come against teams who are admittedly struggling in Toronto, New Jersey and Los Angeles. Tonight, they face the Calgary Flames, entering the game on a four game winning streak of their own. But that may come as no surprise since Calgary may in fact be the streakiest team in the league.
Prior to their current four game run (all on the road against divisional opponents), the Flames had lost three straight; before that they won four in a row; previous to those, they lost seven straight (including one in OT) and preceding that they won another four on the go. That brings you all the way back before (American/real) Thanksgiving for three consecutive games where they alternated results.
Their current stretch of form coincides with the only four games that goalie Joni Ortio has played all year. He was called up in response to an upper body injury to Karri Ramo, and pushed into service by three straight losses from Jonas Hiller, including a particularly ugly six goal against performance versus the Florida Panthers (haha.... Oh wait, never mind). In his four games Ortio has given up only four goals and put up a .958 save percentage. The only time the Ducks have faced Ortio, was the infamous 7-2 drubbing in Calgary last March, although as you can see from the score line, that didn't have so much to do with Ortio's presence in net.
Ramo was activated from IR yesterday, and as such Calgary is carrying three goalies for the time being, and you' have to imagine they'll continue riding the hot hand, no pun intended (well, maybe a little). Yesterday Calgary also placed, former Anaehim property, Ladislav Smid on IR, after he was hurt Monday in Los Angeles, recalled defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and demoted center Drew Shore to Adirondack of the AHL.
The Ducks made a roster move of their own yesterday, waiving Marc Fistric presumably to assign him to Norfolk, making way for the long awaited return of Eric Brewer.
This year the Ducks have had a heck of a time against Calgary. Back in November they played the Flames twice in a week. First they blew a two goal lead in the third, and required a last minute equalizer by Kyle Palmieri to eventually lose in a shootout. Then back in Anaheim they again hopped out to a lead, this time up 3-0 after 40 minutes, but still had to hold on by the skin of their teeth to pull out the standard one goal win.
What can we learn from this game:
I don't know about you, but the first thing I think of when I see Calgary @ Anaheim on the schedule is, "Jesus, they haven't won here since the Jurassic." When that is combined with the last game before the All Star Break, and a Flames team clicking on all cylinders you get the dreaded trap game. The Ducks have been susceptible to it in the past, but actually avoided it pretty well this week. Last year before the corresponding break, leading into the Olympics, Anaheim struggled mightily although they did win the last game against Nashville. Also that was largely on the back of Jonas Hiller who is on the other side tonight, and probably won't play so.... This whole section has been largely pointless. Hope you had fun reading it.
All good things must come to an end, and since we were all expecting Hiller to snap the Disneyland Curse earlier this year, it only makes sense that it would actually be Joni Ortio.