Ducks Extinguish the Flames
April 21, 2017 | 10:15pm ET
By Hannah Spraker
ANAHEIM, CA -- Brooms and fire extinguishers were waving in the air at
the Honda Center outdoor watch party on Wednesday as the Anaheim Ducks
swept the Calgary Flames to advance to the second round of the Stanley
The Ducks have been on fire (no pun intended) as of late, and have no
lost a game in regulation since March. The game that kicked off their
momentum? A win against Washington on the 10-year celebration of the
Stanley Cup at Honda Center. Perhaps a good omen? We shall see.
While the Ducks have gained speed, I don’t think many expected this
series to be a sweep, especially without All-Star defenseman Cam
Anyone else wondering what the conversation was between Bob Murray and
Brian Burke? Former GM of the Ducks, with the Stanley Cup coach, gets
swept by the man who worked under him -- but at the end of the day,
Murray can’t really laugh until he has a Cup for himself.
So, here are the spark notes, scratch that Sprake-Notes (see what I
did there) of the Calgary/Anaheim first round:
Anaheim’s defense stepped up their game, showing that Cam Fowler can take
his time recovering from his lower body injury. Gibson told NHL.com, "We
obviously got some guys injured now. I think any time you can get rest and
get people healthy, it definitely doesn't hurt."
Calgary was stellar on the powerplay. Six of the nine goals Calgary had on
the Ducks were padded by the powerplay. Sean Monahan left the series with
5 points, 4 goals and 1 assist, all of which were on the powerplay. Which,
let’s face it, means the Ducks penalty kill was absolute garbage and
Flames did not match up at even strength -- something that will need to
change for Anaheim moving on to Round 2.
Let’s talk goaltending: A major factor in what ultimately put the Flames
out, was goaltending. Brian Elliott had a less than impressive playoff
performance, letting in an average of 3.89 goals against and a .880 save
percentage. In Game 4, he was in net for only six minutes before getting
pulled after yet another soft goal by Patrick Eaves. His future with
Calgary could very well be in jeopardy.
John Gibson had a solid performance for the most part, with the
exception of getting pulled in Game 3 for giving up four goals on 16
shots. Jonathan Bernier then stepped in locked in the overtime win,
while the Ducks bounced back in the third. Are the mighty comeback
kids a thing again?
The unexpected stood tall. Young gun Shea Theodore ended the series
with 5 points, 2 goals and 3 assists, and veteran Kevin Bieksa
racked up 4 assists. Nate Thompson ended the series with 2G and 2A
for 4 points, more than he has had in the 30 games he played this
season. Call it a bit of luck? Thompson scored a goal potentially
played with a high stick, but it was inconclusive.
The Honda Center curse is alive and well. “You can’t win here”
chants were heard anytime Calgary was in town -- regular season
and playoffs. Fun fact: last time the Flames won in Anaheim in the
playoffs, Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” was a No.1 hit. (2006)
Despite the sweep, Calgary gave it a tremendous effort, so hats
off to them. At the end of the day, the Ducks are the better
team, pound for pound, and when 6 of 9 goals are with a man
advantage, it shows that the Flames could not match up with
Anaheim at even strength. Captain Ryan Getzlaf told NHL.com,
"It's big. I think any time you can put a team behind you, you
definitely want to take advantage of it. You never want to give
life. They're a resilient bunch. They battled right to the end
tonight and made us earn it, that's for sure."
Anaheim is receiving some much-needed rest as they await the winner of
the San Jose Sharks/ Edmonton Oilers series which has turned out to be
quite the nail biter.
Will they play the young, fast, Connor McDavid era Oilers? Or will
they match up against the gritty San Jose Sharks pound for pound? Stay
Hannah Spraker is the Anaheim Correspondent and a Columnist for The Fourth Period. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.