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DUCKS STRIKE FIRST

Pair of power-play goals lead Anaheim to 3-2 win in series-opener against Flames

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

ANAHEIM - The Anaheim Ducks have struck first.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist and John Gibson made 30 made saves to help the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-2 win against the Flames at Honda Center on Thursday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is in Anaheim on Saturday (8:30 p.m. MT; CBC, SN960).

"I think we were antsy and the energy and everything was going in the right direction but this was the first time for a lot of guys they've been in, or the first time in a few years. Guys were excited," forward Kris Versteeg said. "Those things will happen. They fought a hard game.

"But in the end we were still (in) there to win. We're going to bring our best."

Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett scored, and Brian Elliott made 38 saves for the Flames, who have lost 22 regular-season games and six playoff games at Honda Center since winning 5-2 on April 25, 2006 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks.

Bennett gave the Flames a 2-1 lead at 9:46 of the second period when he tipped Versteeg's no-look backhand pass by Gibson, but the Ducks struck twice in just under four minutes to take a 3-2 lead.

Getzlaf was stopped by Elliott after he was sprung on a 3-on-0 by Kevin Bieksa, but Rakell scored on the rebound at 13:53 to tie the game 2-2, and Silfverberg stepped off the boards on a powerplay and shot under Elliott's arm at 17:47 to make it 3-2.

Video: CGY@ANA, Gm1: Elliott snares Getzlaf's quick shot

"We lost, so I don't feel that good about it," Elliott said. "It's tough when we give them everything. Two powerplay goals and a bad change. It's not like they really earned it that much. We gave it to them. We'll clean things up and we'll take care of business."

Gibson made 12 saves in the third period to preserve the win.

He stopped Micheal Ferland at 7:15 on a setup into the slot by Johnny Gaudreau, and made a blocker save on Ferland's shot at 7:30. Gibson also made the save Mikael Backlund on a shorthanded breakaway at 8:18.

"Ferly had a 10-beller there in the slot and Gibson made another big save," Gaudreau said. "He played well. He had some big saves there. When we get our scoring chances we've got to find the net. We had some great looks.

"We had some great looks there and a chance to tie the game numerous times throughout the third."

Gibson also shut the door on 1:14 of a 5-on-3 power play in the final two minutes of the game, and denied Matthew Tkachuk's initial shot and Gaudreau's rebound attempt with 19 seconds remaining in the game with the Flames on a powerplay and their net empty for the extra attacker.

"We didn't setup the way we wanted to," Versteeg said. "Sometimes things like that happen. They were putting the pressure on, for sure. You have to find ways to come up big in those moments if we're going to beat a team like that.

"All in all we were still there in the end. We had our opportunity to tie it up and we didn't.

"Just move onto the next one."

Getzlaf scored 52 seconds into the game to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead when his one-timer on the powerplay deflected off the stick of Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland and by Elliott.

Monahan scored on the powerplay at 8:43 to tie the game 1-1 when he redirected Versteeg's pass into the slot by the right pad of Gibson.

Video: CGY@ANA, Gm1: Monahan, Versteeg combine for PPG

NOTES: The Flames outhit the Ducks 33-30 … Ferland finished with a game-high seven shots …  Mark Giordano played a game-high 26:44 … Matt Barkowski had a game-high five hits. The Ducks have won an NHL-record 25 straight regular-season games against the Flames at home, three of which came prior to the 2006 playoff loss. 

UP NEXT: Game 2 of Western Conference first round at Honda Center on Saturday (8:30 p.m. MT; CBC, SN960).

 

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