Ducks (43-28-5, 91 points) vs. Calgary Flames (38-28-11, 87) at Scotiabank Saddledome, 6:30 p.m. PT.
Five storylines to track:
1. Bigger than big – OK, just so we’re clear. There are big games, like the last 30 or so, and there are exceptionally large games, like the one tonight in Calgary. With a regulation victory, the Ducks can climb one more rung in the ladder to sixth in the Western Conference standings with six games remaining. More importantly, they would get six points clear of ninth-place Dallas. Calgary, like the Stars, has 87 points but sits in 10th due to more games played.
2. Creating a buzz – Probably not surprising Teemu Selanne was trending on Twitter not long after posting his 22ndcareer hat trick Monday night in a 5-4 victory against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Apparently, it’s not every day a 40-year-old scores three goals in an NHL game. The fact is, Selanne is helping the Ducks earn points like no other member of the team…well, maybe Corey Perry. If he continues this torrid pace, get ready to hear a lot more about the Finnish Flash.
3. Diamond in the rough – Another player whose stellar play has been buried beneath the Selanne headlines is goalkeeper Ray Emery. With the win against the Avalanche, he remained undefeated in five starts since joining Anaheim as a free agent in early February, basically as an insurance policy while starter Jonas Hiller deals with vertigo-like symptoms. Emery is turning into a great comeback story himself, battling back from hip surgery that kept him out of the NHL for more than a year and threatened to end his career.
4. Have you seen me? – It’s safe to say the Ducks probably thought they’d get more out of defenseman Francois Beauchemin when they traded for him back in early February. But he clearly isn’t the same player that helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup title in 2007 before playing the last 1 ½ seasons in Toronto. Beauchemin is minus-five in his last five games and has just two goals and two assists in the 21 games since joining Anaheim.
5. Flame that got away – The Flames haven’t played since rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit Saturday against Edmonton to win in a shootout, 5-4. Curtis Glencross scored his 23rdgoal of the season in the comeback, further adding to his breakout season. Glencross signed his first professional contract with the Ducks and played two games with the club during the Stanley Cup championship season before he was traded to Columbus for two players who never made a dent in the NHL and a fourth-round draft pick.