Calgary Flames (31-18-4, t-3rd in west) at Anaheim Ducks (27-24-5, t-5th in west)
Uh-oh: the last time these two teams met, Matt Fenwick won a lucky shirt.
As well-deserved as tonight's ceremony will be to honor Teemu Selanne, Anaheim's franchise leader in games-played, I'm thrilled that former captain and record-holder Steve Rucchin will attend his first game in Anaheim since 2004. What a hero Steve Rucchin was -- I know he's no hall-of-famer, but can't the Ducks find Rooch some bullshit ambassador job a la Brett Hull (minus the terrible GM decisions) or Luc Robitaille?
As always, it's an important game tonight -- the Ducks are in a 2-games-in-10-days stretch where the western bubble creeps ever closer, and theoretically will close in on Anaheim's league-leading 56 games played. Despite the fact that the Ducks continue to sit in the top eight points-wise, their playoff odds aren't stellar -- in fact, if you use a coin-flip method for the rest of the season schedule, the Kings currently have better playoff odds than the Ducks (not so if you use the weighted method, though). Still, it's not a rosy outlook, and GM Bob Murray will have some tough decisions in the coming weeks leading up to the trade deadline (I'll do that post next week when we see where that bubble really sits).
One thing that could help the Ducks, certainly, would be better starts to their games -- in 8 of the last 10 games, they have allowed the opponent to score first. In those same 10 games, the Ducks have scored the game's second goal 8 times. If the Ducks could bring that sort of desperation to a scoreless game, it'd help the stretch run considerably.
Prediction: Ducks 4, Flames 2. Goals by Pronger, Selanne, Pahlsson (the scratch), and Rucchin.