By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com Photo Gallery
After chasing Calgary’s No. 1 goaltender (and former Duck) Jonas Hiller in Game 1, Anaheim will face backup netminder Karri Ramo tonight in a pivotal Game 2 at Honda Center. The Ducks racked up six goals in a convincing 6-1 win three nights ago, but the players know it’ll be a much closer affair tonight and beyond. Frederik Andersen will bring his sparkling 5-0 postseason record into tonight’s game, while Jason LaBarbera will serve as backup. John Gibson is currently dealing with flu-like symptoms, but is expected to join the team on the trip to Calgary.
One of the storylines this postseason has been how the Ducks have handled extended breaks between games. The Ducks had five days between their regular season finale and Game 1 of the First Round vs. Winnipeg, and then went eight days from Game 4 of that series to Game 1 of this series vs. Calgary. The fear of rust always comes into question, especially during the postseason, but Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf says the team is using the time off for extra preparation.
“We just use the time to get ready,” Getzlaf said. “We have a sense of what we need to accomplish. We’ve used our practice time wisely and our preparation for the games.” The break has also allowed players to heal various bumps and bruises, like center Nate Thompson, who missed the first round with an upper-body injury but returned to action on Thursday night. Thompson went scoreless and finished with a plus-1 rating in 12:35 TOI, and says he expects the Flames to be at their best tonight.
“They’re going to be hungry,” he said. “They’re going to want to bounce back. We need to have an even better game tonight and bring it. We have to make sure to continue to put our foot on the gas pedal and not have letdowns during the game. We need to sustain it throughout the game.”
The killer instinct Thompson refers to is one of the defining traits in Anaheim’s first round sweep. “You don’t give them any hope,” goaltender Andersen said at the conclusion of Game 4 two weeks ago. “You have to put them away when you can. That’s the bottom line.”
“If a team doesn’t have a game that’s up to par, usually the next game is a lot better,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “History states that this is going to be a very good game for them. This is what we’re anticipating.” Boudreau also expects Flames head coach Bob Hartley to (at some point) throw a curve ball in terms of his lineup.
“We’ve heard everything from Gio [Mark Giordano] practicing to [Raphael] Diaz being ready, to anything,” Boudreau said. “We’ll just wait and see. Like I said yesterday, I think [Hartley] has some tricks up his sleeve. We’ll just have to adjust to what he does.”
Although the Ducks took it to the Flames in Game 1, Getzlaf made sure to keep things in perspective. “All we did is win one game,” he said, “but this could be a big game in the series. We’re well aware of the fact that you don’t want to give them any momentum. You always want to take care of home ice when you get the chance.”EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Patrick Maroon-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano-Rickard Rakell-Kyle Palmieri
Emerson Etem-Nate Thompson-Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler-Simon Despres
Clayton Stoner-Sami VatanenCALGARY
Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett-Mikael Backlund-Joe Colborne
Brandon Bollig-Josh Jooris-Drew Shore
Micheal Ferland-Matt Stajan-David Jones
Deryk Engelland-TJ Brodie
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Tyler Wotherspoon-David Schlemko