With their playoff spot secured, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks look to gain home-ice advantage for the first round. The Calgary Flames have a pursuit of their own after clinching a postseason berth in their last game—winning the Northwest Division title.
These playoff-bound teams hope to take a step closer toward their goals when they meet at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The Mighty Ducks clinched their second playoff appearance in three seasons with Monday’s 4-2 road win over the Vancouver Canucks.
“Now we can focus on getting ready for the playoffs, we know for sure we’ll be there,” said Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, whose 39 saves were his fourth-highest total this season.
The victory, the Ducks’ 14th in 18 games, moved them within two points of Nashville for the Western Conference’s fourth seed and the home-ice edge in the opening round.
“That’s a possibility now,” Giguere said. “This is definitely a confidence booster, especially against a team that was very desperate.”
Scott Niedermayer, Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne each had a goal and an assist, and Rob Niedermayer also scored to help the Ducks take a 4-0 lead midway through the second period. Selanne has 10 goals and 16 assists in his last 13 games.
Giguere, who is 12-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average in the Ducks’ last 18 games, had 20 saves in the second period Monday.
“If you’re going to stand in there and beat some good teams, you need to have some good goaltending and we had that tonight,” Scott Niedermayer said.
The Ducks are 2-0 on a five-game road swing that also includes games at Edmonton on Thursday and in San Jose on Saturday before concluding the regular season at home against the Flames on Monday.
The Flames are 5-0-2 in their last seven games and enter after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime road loss to the Canucks. Mark Giordano and Byron Ritchie scored third-period goals to help force overtime and extend the Flames’ points streak.
The point assured the Flames would return to the playoffs after losing in seven games to Tampa Bay in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals.
“In the end, character stepped up for us and battled to get a point,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said.
Sutter’s team could wrap up its first division crown since the 1994-95 season as early as Tuesday if it wins this game and Colorado fails to beat Phoenix.
The Flames have a six-point lead on the second-place Avalanche and each team has four games left. Those teams will meet on Thursday in Calgary. home.