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Flames doing their homework to prepare for Ducks

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- After his Calgary Flames eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the Western Conference First Round, coach Bob Hartley took a moment to savor the victory.

Then he went back to work, scouting the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary's second-round opponent.

"We were at the office all day," Hartley said. "There is no time for celebrations for us. We already started our meetings [Monday]. We're going to have meetings until we leave for California. Our job is to prepare our team. They work so hard for us. Our job is to make sure that we dig for details, try to design a plan that will fit our team the best possible way, and after that, they are the performers.

"They've been the performers all year. It's been fun to watch them, to push them and to be around them. We're not going to change."

The early returns on Hartley's work paint a favorable picture for coach Bruce Boudreau's Ducks.

"We have the utmost respect. They are one of the best teams in the NHL, if not the best team when you look at stats," Hartley said. "You ask any expert or any people around the game; here is a team that, we had two white sheets on the walls in our offices that had strengths and weaknesses of the Ducks. We were running out of paper on the strengths side, while the weaknesses side was still a blank piece of paper."

Hartley added, tongue firmly planted in cheek: "To be honest, I don't even know why we're going there, but we'll do our best."

At 109 points, the Ducks finished first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, six wins and 12 points up on the Flames. Anaheim also had a League-best 12 wins when trailing after two periods; the Flames were third with 10 victories when facing a deficit heading into the third.

The Ducks won three of the five regular-season games against Calgary, and one of their two losses came in a shootout. Overall, Anaheim outscored the Flames 21-18.

In moving from Vancouver to the Ducks, Calgary's road to the Stanley Cup doesn't get any smoother.

"We know those guys. Western Conference teams, that's our job to know them," Hartley said. "That's our job to get ready. We had some scouts watching the Ducks in the first round and we've played them so many times that we know them and they know us. There aren't many secrets left in playoff hockey."

With four Olympic gold medals and seven all-star game appearances between the two, there's little surprise the Flames are looking to key in on the duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

The pair, one of the NHL's most dangerous duos, combined for 58 goals and 125 points in the regular season and added four goals and 11 points in a first-round sweep of the Winnipeg Jets.

After minimizing the damage of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who totaled three goals and eight points in their six-game series, Calgary's attention is firmly fixed on trying to contain Getzlaf and Perry.

"We know how good they are," Hartley said. "They are world-class hockey players and world-class athletes. They work very well together. It's a great tandem, whether it's (Patrick) Maroon or (Matt) Beleskey who will be playing left wing with them. They're a very dangerous line. They're a very dangerous team."

But Hartley's homework suggests there's plenty more to worry about.

"As much respect as we have for Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, they're a team that throws four lines and six defencemen at you," Hartley said. "They keep coming and coming and they are a very skilled hockey club."

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent

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