By Scott Taylor
Series G: Anaheim Ducks (46-23-13, 105 points) vs. Calgary Flames (45-33-4, 94 points)
These two teams finished 11 points apart in the standings and while Anaheim won four of the five games between the two clubs, a couple of the outcomes were close and Calgary’s only win, back on Dec. 4, was 8-3. Still, the The Ducks have been superior all year and won the last two meetings on April 2 and April 4, by 4-3 (in Calgary) and 3-1 (in Anaheim) scores.
The Flames aggressive forecheck did not stop the Ducks from scoring this season (at least three goals in every game) and in all five meetings, the Flames goaltending was suspect. If Calgary expects to win this series, it will have to find a way to shut down Ryan Getzlaf, Richard Rakell, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry and that might be easier said than done.
For Calgary, the star in Johnny Gaudreau, who had 18 goals and a team-high 61 points. Sean Monahan (2&) and Mikael Backlund (22) were the big goal scorers. Tough guy Micheal Ferland (15 goals and 25 points) had a solid year offensively and his grit will be a key in the post-season.
Goalie Brian Elliott, 2.55 goals against average and .910 save percentage, will have to be good. Rakell led Anaheim is scoring with 33 goals while Getzlaf led in scoring with 73 points. Jakob Silfverberg (23), Kesler (22) and Perry (19) were also big offensive threats. With two No. 1 goalies – John Gibson and Jonathen Bernier – the Ducks have lots of talent between the pipes. This series is Anaheim’s to lose.
Players to Watch:
Anaheim: Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Richard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf
Calgary: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Micheal Ferland
Season Series: Ducks won 4-1.
Our Choice: Anaheim in five games.