By Adam Brady
The Ducks have a storied playoff history and a litany of dynamic scorers, but their franchise posteason goal streak record isn’t owned by a Teemu Selanne, a Paul Kariya or a Corey Perry.
Matt Beleskey’s tally just 59 seconds into the third period of Sunday night’s clinching Game 5 vs. Calgary gave him a remarkable five straight games with a goal, all coming in the Second Round series with the Flames. That shattered a Ducks playoff team record previously owned by Selanne (2011) and Perry (2009).
“It feels good, but it’s kind of a side note at this point,” says the 26-year-old Beleskey. “We’re in the conference final, and I’m just looking to help our team every night. If it’s a goal, it’s a goal. If it’s a hit, whatever it takes to win. Luckily they’ve been getting in for me lately.”
Beleskey’s offensive output is no surprise after he had a breakout season in 2014-15, scoring 22 goals in 65 games – miles ahead of his previous high of 11 (in 2011-12). His eight game-winning goals were good for third in the NHL. Yet he went scoreless in Anaheim’s First Round sweep of Winnipeg, instead helping the Ducks with his physical presence at both ends.
Beleskey, who has skated on a prolific second line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg, didn’t have much of an explanation for his outburst of scoring in Round 2.
“I think I’m just getting to the net, picking good spots in the slot, and pucks are kind of finding me,” he shrugged.
|“It feels good. But it’s kind of a side note at this point. We’re in the conference final, and I’m just looking to help our team every night. If it’s a goal, it’s a goal. If it’s a hit, whatever it takes to win. Luckily they’ve been getting in for me lately.” |
He acknowledged there is some luck involved, like that Game 5 goal on the power play that tied the game 2-2, a Francois Beauchemin one-timer slap shot that Beleskey deftly deflected past goalie Karri Ramo with his back to the net.
“Sometimes you tip that over the net, sometimes it goes in,” Beleskey said with a smile. “It’s just nice that these are coming this time of year.”
Beleskey also had a gargantuan goal early in the third period of Game 4 in Calgary, punching in a rebound off a Jakob Silfverberg shot on the power play to give the Ducks the lead in an eventual 4-2 victory.
“He’s been doing that for us all year," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Not only timely goals but he knows where to place himself and he’s strong, so a lot of times he doesn’t get moved out of that spot.”
Beleskey is just pleased to be this deep in the playoffs, especially after he was knocked out of the Second Round last year vs. LA with a groin injury that he rehabbed all summer. “Just having to watch that and not being able to be a part of the team, be with the guys before and after, it was really hard to watch,” Beleskey said earlier in the postseason.
Now with the Ducks days away from Game 1 of the Western Conference Final vs. Chicago, Beleskey is among a room full of Ducks who can’t wait to get going again.
“It’s gonna be a battle for sure,” he says. “We’re looking forward to it. We’ll sit here and study their game and have a good scouting report on them. It’s gonna be tight-checking and I’m sure there will be lots of scoring and tight games. We’ll be ready to go Game 1.”