Flames continue quest for playoffs vs. Ducks

(SportsNetwork.com) - Even with consecutive losses, the Anaheim Ducks appear in position to roll to a Pacific Division title.

The Flames have a much tougher road to the playoffs and look to bounce back on Wednesday night against the visiting Ducks.

The Ducks own an 11-point lead for the top spot in the division and are in the mix for the Presidents' Trophy, awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points.

Things are much tighter for the Flames, who sit third in the Pacific Division, three points back of the second-place Vancouver Canucks. Calgary is tied at 77 points with the Los Angeles Kings, but holds the current tiebreaker over L.A. The Flames are pushing for a postseason spot without defenseman and captain Mark Giordano, recently lost for the rest of the season due to a biceps injury.

One area in which the Flames have excelled this season is finishing games strong as they rank second in the NHL with 84 third-period goals. They added to that total in a big way on Sunday, scoring four goals in the third frame of an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Calgary trailed 4-0 going into the third period, but Kris Russell scored twice and both Joe Colborne and Mikael Backlund lit the lamp as well. The Flames failed to get the extra point by losing a six-round shootout and went 4-2-1 on a seven-game road trip.

"We're still missing a point. But at the same time, looking at our situation, we leave with a point here," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.

Jiri Hudler notched a pair of assists in the loss and was named the NHL's First Star for the week on Monday. Hudler had four goals and eight points in four games.

Karri Ramo allowed four goals on 23 shots before getting replaced in the second period, with Jonas Hiller turning aside all 19 he faced in relief.

Hiller could get the start tonight with the Flames set to kick off a span of two straight and seven of their next eight at home.

Calgary has struggled versus Anaheim this season, with the Ducks going 3-0-1 and outscoring the Flames 15-8 over a current three-game series win streak.

Hiller, who spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Ducks before signing with the Flames as a free agent, has appeared in all four games against his former club this season. He has started three of those, going 1-2-0 with a 3.43 goals against average and .889 save percentage in the four contests.

Anaheim comes in looking to avoid a third loss in a row as it was bested 2-1 by hosting Vancouver on Monday. The back-to-back losses come after the Ducks won four straight and seven of eight games.

Emerson Etem scored the only goal of the game for the Ducks, who lost a one- goal game in regulation for the first time this season (26-1-7). Frederik Andersen allowed both goals on 16 shots in the loss.

"We played well enough to win, but we didn't take advantage of our chances," said Anaheim center Nate Thompson, who assisted on Etem's fifth goal of the season. "We just need to move on. I like our chances if we play like that every game."

Andersen is 3-0-1 lifetime versus the Flames with a 2.87 GAA and .890 save percentage.