Date: Wednesday April 3rd, 2019
Time: 7:30 PM PT
Location: Honda Center
Your Enemy: Matchsticks & Gasoline
After a 6-1 beatdown in Calgary just five days ago, the Ducks host the Flames at Honda Center for the final time this season. Even though Gaudreau and co. have wrapped up their first division title in 13 years and own the top spot in the Western Conference, there will be extra motivation for the Flames to win this one. A victory for Calgary would give them their first series win against the Ducks since 2004, and only their second victory at Honda Center during that time.
The Ducks, meanwhile, are coming off a performance that was the polar opposite of their loss in Calgary, with Anaheim taking their frustrations out on the Edmonton Oilers the night after 5-1.
Rickard Rakell notched his second career hat trick and only the second natural hat trick in one period in Ducks history. Rakell has exploded to finish out the season after an extremely difficult start. The Swedish winger didn’t hit double digit goals until March 6th, but has potted seven goals in his last five games to put him within two of hitting the 20-goal mark.
Anaheim’s roster will look slightly different tonight after the Ducks sent Chase DeLeo, Kiefer Sherwood, Jake Dotchin, and Connor Carrick back to San Diego who are fighting for a Calder Cup Playoff spot down to the wire.
EVPGMIHCBM gave a few injury updates yesterday, including the news that Troy Terry will miss 8-12 weeks with a non-displaced fracture in the tibia of his leg and that Josh Manson will likely be shut down for the final two games of the season due to an upper-body injury.
On the plus side, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf may return to the lineup after missing the last four games with back spasms. Nick Ritchie also is a candidate to return from injury, while defenseman Brendan Guhle could be ready to skate in Friday’s season finale.
Ryan Miller will likely get the start tonight in Murray’s continued efforts to split the workload to finish out the season.
Keys to the Game
Give your hottest players opportunities: Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg just can’t stop scoring. If Getzlaf returns tonight, they become even more dangerous. Watch for both of them to get plenty of good looks.
Injured players returning: Getting regulars back into the lineup can oftentimes provide a nice boost to the energy of the team. No matter the outcome of the game, hopefully they can come out with energy and, at a minimum, avoid another embarrassing loss. Maybe just a respectful loss this time to support the final tank.