CALGARY – After his team’s 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames last night in the sixth game of the Western Conference quarterfinals, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle took advantage of the Tuesday off-day by keeping his team off the ice.
Carlyle was the only member of the Ducks to make an afternoon appearance at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The first-year NHL head coach was there to address the media on the eve of the seventh and deciding game of the series.
“We’re doing something other than going onto the ice,” said Carlyle of his team’s Tuesday activity. “We just felt that with our travel schedule, with what’s transpired here, that it was getting monotonous, redundant – whatever word you want to use to describe - that we’d just do a little bit of a change today.”
The Ducks and Flames played possibly their most physical contest of the series last night highlighted by game-long confrontation between Anaheim rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin and Calgary captain Jarome Iginla.
Beauchemin and Iginla sparred in the opening minutes of the game with Beauchemin knocking Iginla down with a surprise left to begin the fight.
“There’s always those competitive battles within the game,” said Carlyle. “That’s what competitive hockey and playoffs bring.”
In the closing seconds of the contest, Iginla went after Beauchemin resulting in charging and roughing minors being assessed to the Calgary right winger.
All of that tension and competitiveness will spill over to the final game of the series tomorrow night at the Saddledome at 6 p.m. (PDT).
“When you play a team as much as we’ve played these guys things happen,” said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. “Ultimately, both teams want to win this series. If it takes getting a high stick or getting hit or whatever it may be, we want to be prepared to go through that and that’s what you have to do in a tough playoff series like this.”
The Ducks and Flames have played each other eight times in the past 22 days. The two teams split their regular season series and have split this series so far. Their 11th meeting of the season will decide which team will move on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Game seven – everybody is having fun,” said Ducks winger Teemu Selanne who tallied once and had a backhander called back as a result of a Ducks penalty in game six. “Two good teams are playing tomorrow, so it’s going to be a good battle.”