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FLAMES-DUCKS 2016-17 SEASON SERIES RECAP

A look back on the Flames five games against the Ducks in the 2016-17 campaign

by ALEX MEDINA @alex_medina5 / CalgaryFlames.com

The third time could very well be the charm.

With the playoffs match-ups set, the Flames will have a third go at exercising past demons in avenging their last two playoff series losses against the top team in the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks. 

In both 2006 and 2015, the Ducks ended the Flames season with 4-3 and 4-1 series wins respectively, en route to a Conference Final appearance in both years.

Despite the struggles the Flames have had playing in Anaheim during the regular season, they were able to steal a 5-2 win on the road in Game 3 in the 2006 series.

And, although he didn't play that series, Mark Giordano was in his rookie season with the Flames and witnessed the team outplay the Ducks to earn the victory, something that the captain could draw on to help rally the team to earn a win at the Honda Center this time around.

The two teams are all too familiar with one another and each sides offer dangerous players that can fill the back of the net in a hurry.

Hitmen alumnus and captain Ryan Getzlaf leads the charge, with Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler pacing Ducks offence, as the Ducks earned their fifth straight Pacific Division title. Despite his young age, 23-year-old goaltender John Gibson has been solid all season long for the Ducks and brings a few games of past playoff experience.

Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and the 3M line of Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk have been solid all season long and will look to translate their regular-season success to the post-season. 

Brian Elliott will bring his playoff experience and strong second half of the season to help the Flames advance to the second round and shut down the Ducks high power offence.

The last game of the regular season saw a sense of playoff-like atmosphere, which will more than likely translate over to Game One, with the Flames looking to put the league on notice and show that they're not satisfied with just a playoff appearance. 

SEASON SERIES

The Ducks came out on top during the five games the two clubs had on the year against each other, with a 4-1 season series win. Two of the victories came on home ice for the Ducks.

Nov. 6: Flames 1 @ Ducks 4

Kesler scored a pair of powerplay goals, while Clayton Stoner and Andrew Cogliano also scored in the win. Getzlaf and Perry each had three assists, to lead the Ducks with their playmaking.  

It was Getzlaf's first game back in the line-up after he missed two games due to a upper-body injury, continuing to set up his teammates as the captain has done his whole NHL career.

The victory marked Jonathan Bernier's first win as a Duck, after being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs during the off-season.

Alex Chiasson scored the lone Flames' goal, after a shot by Gaudreau hit him to sneak past Bernier.

"In the third period, we didn't generate much because they didn't play with any risk at all," Giordano told NHL.com. "It's tough to win many games when you're not putting more than one in the net. We've just got to find a way to score some ugly ones."

Dec. 4: Ducks 3 @ Flames 8

The Flames were able to avenge the loss on Nov. 6, with the offence coming alive in the second period with five goals to earn a 8-3 win at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Gaudreau had a goal and an assist in his first game back after a 10-game layoff due to injury to spark the offence. Sam Bennett, Chiasson and Matt Stajan led the way with a goal and two assists each, while Brouwer, Dougie Hamilton and Monahan scored for the Flames. 

Kesler was able to score a pair, while Logan Shaw chipped in with a goal for the Ducks, while Bernier was in net for all eight goals, making 17 saves in the loss.

"Everyone was finding the net," Gaudreau told NHL.com. "Everyone was playing well. Everyone was in the offensive zone. This is good for us. This is fun. It's a fun game to play and be a part of."

Dec. 29: Ducks 3 @ Flames 1 

The Ducks were able to steal a win on the road, thanks to goaltender John Gibson's 31-save performance to shut down the Flames offence. Antoine Vermette had a goal and assist, with Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg rounding off the scoring.

Backlund found the back of the net for Gibson's only blemish of the night in the first period, until the Ducks responded in the later periods. 

"The frustrating part for me is we approached this as a playoff game, and I thought we did some really good things," Gulutzan told NHL.com. "We had lots of guys playing, and I thought it was a great hockey game. 

April 2: Ducks 4 @ Flames 3

 In a back-and-fourth battle, the Ducks were able to get a late third-period goal with 3:06 left to play in regulation to break a 3-3 tie, thanks to Shaw scoring off a rebound.

Kesler once again proved to be a problem, chipping in with three assists on the night, with Patrick Eaves, Silfverberg and Korbinian Holzer adding markers. Bernier picked up his second win against the Flames on the year, bouncing back from the eight goals he allowed in his last outing at the Saddledome. 

Kris Versteeg scored two powerplay goals to tie the game at two in the second, with Frolik tipping a Giordano point shot to tie the game at three early in the third, before Holzer restored the Ducks lead late in the second.

April 4: Flames 1 @ Ducks 3

The Ducks were able to complete a home-and-home sweep with another victory on home ice against the Flames. Goals were hard to come by once again for Calgary, as John Gibson made 26 saves to lead the Ducks to their fourth win over the Flames on the year. 

Eaves, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Wagner scored for the Ducks, while Backlund was the only Flame to solve Gibson in the contest. 

The game had a sense of playoff intensity as both teams played with an edge that escalated to some rough stuff in the final frame, with countless scrums after whistles, providing a preview to the intensity that the first-round series should have.

"If we're playing the way we can play, we're a tough team to beat," Bieksa told NHL.com. "Going in the playoffs, we know if we find ourselves playing [the Flames], it'll be a tough series."

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