Tomas Fleischmann, the closer?
“I’ll take that nickname,” said the Ducks forward, who was raised in the Czech Republic.
Fleischmann, who appeared in Game 3 in the first round and the series-clinching Game 4 at Winnipeg, will be making his first appearance in the lineup since then, set to return for Friday night’s Game 4 against the Flames here.
He moves to the third line with center Rickard Rakell and forward Andrew Cogliano. Forward Kyle Palmieri, who has one point and is a minus-one in seven games, drops down to the fourth line with Tim Jackman and center Nate Thompson. Emerson Etem is the odd man out.
“It’s the part I have to do right now,” Fleischmann said after Friday’s morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “It’s just my job. I make sure I work hard in the practice, push the guys in the lineup. If there is opportunity like tonight, I’ve got to take it.”
The experience and skill set of Fleischmann paid off when the Ducks suddenly had a void at center in the first round when Thompson was still out and Chris Wagner was injured in Game 2.
“He’s a veteran of many playoffs,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s played really well for us in the Winnipeg series, I thought. He’s a skilled player. He’s played in tough situations before. So I think he’ll bring a little bit of that whole thing to our game tonight.
“He can play center too. It’s always nice to have five potential centermen in the lineup in case somebody goes down because it’s such an important position.”
Additionally, his presence is about energy. Anaheim was less than 20 seconds from taking a three-game-to-none series lead when Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau tied it and Calgary went on to win Game 3 in overtime, 4-3.
“I think so, it helps a lot,” Fleischmann said of an energy infusion. “Our game wasn’t really 100% good last game. Just a little bit of energy, different guys in the lineup helps.”
Boudreau declined to go into detail about Palmieri’s ups and down.
“I’ve talked to Kyle about it so I’d rather leave that [alone],” he said.
The other small twist for the Ducks was that John Gibson will be the backup for starting goalie Frederik Andersen. Gibson had been suffering from the flu. Anderson’s goals-against average in the playoffs is 1.96, and save percentage .927 with one shutout.