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Ducks Host Flames In Battle For Playoff Positioning

(Sports Network) - An important battle in the Western Conference playoff race is on tap tonight in Orange County, as the Anaheim Ducks host the Calgary Flames at the Honda Center. The Flames and Ducks both enter tonight's contest with 83 points, leaving the clubs one shy of Nashville and Chicago for the Western Conference's final two playoff spots. The Predators are in action today in Buffalo, while the Blackhawks are playing in Phoenix.

Anaheim has won both meetings with Calgary this season, although the Ducks and Flames played past regulation on both occasions. The Ducks, who have won six of eight overall in the series, recorded a 3-2 shootout win over the Flames in Anaheim on Dec. 10 and then notched a 5-4 overtime victory on Feb. 11 in Calgary. The Ducks have won two straight, four of five and seven of their last nine games. Anaheim picked up two key points against a division rival on Saturday, edging the host Los Angeles Kings in overtime.

Corey Perry scored on a devastating slap shot 1:32 into in OT, lifting the Ducks to the 2-1 decision at the Staples Center. The game-winner came after a Kings forward Anze Kopitar turned the puck over in the LA zone, falling to the ice near the boards. Cam Fowler picked it up for a cross-ice pass to Perry, who skated down the right side and uncorked a shot that hit Jonathan Quick's glove before finding the back of the net.

"We battled tonight and we have another one tomorrow, so it was a huge relief," said Ducks goaltender Ray Emery about the game-winner. Brandon McMillan scored Anaheim's only regulation goal in the first period, while Emery had 31 saves for the Ducks. Dan Ellis is expected to get the start in net for Anaheim tonight. The Ducks have won five of their last seven home games and are 22-12-2 as the host this season.

The Flames had lost three straight games -- all in regulation -- before snapping the skid Thursday night against visiting Colorado. Jarome Iginla scored two goals and Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves to lead Calgary to the 5-2 victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Mark Giordano, Rene Bourque and Ales Kotalik also tallied for the Flames. "I really thought tonight we had a very complete game," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. Tonight marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Flames, who are just 15-15-5 as the visiting club this season.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.