ANAHEIM, CA -- A week is long enough for the Anaheim Ducks.
After sitting out a full seven days following a four-game sweep of the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference First Round best-of-7 series, the Ducks have been idle.
They’re idle no more. And they’re excited.
“I think we’re ready and they are antsy to play,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They want to beat up on someone other than themselves, which happens when you practice a lot. You just hope that your mindset and the pace of play that you played with in the last game doesn’t take a game to get going again. I don’t think it will, but that’s what coaches worry about.”
It’s not a scenario Anaheim is entirely unfamiliar with.
The Ducks had two separate stints featuring four days between games as the regular season schedule came to a close.
It’s in those two separate lengthy breaks, captain Ryan Getzlaf suggests, that helped prepare Anaheim for a lengthy wait between the Jets and the Calgary Flames, their opponent in the second round of the playoffs.
“At the end of the season we had a couple times where we had three or four days off in between games and we were able to maintain what we wanted to do going into those games, so we drew upon that and obviously prepared the same way,” Getzlaf said.
“The important thing was our practice this week and the preparation. I thought that we did a great job ramping things up, competing in practice and I think when you get out there in the first five minutes you’re going to have to go out and get involved right away.”
It’s the same game plan Tim Jackman is expecting from his Ducks.
“It would be great if we could just win some early face-offs and get the puck in deep and try to establish our forecheck,” said Jackman, who spent parts of four seasons from 2010-14 with the Flames. “If we can do a couple things like that early, that will get us going and get some momentum and we can go from there.”
The forecheck will be at the forefront for Anaheim, and not just to jumpstart some inactivity.
Facing a Calgary squad whose top three defencemen in TJ Brodie, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman are among the most active in terms of ice time of those remaining in the playoffs, the forecheck is paramount to wearing down Calgary’s active blue line.
The Flames rely heavily on the trio.
The Ducks want to lean heavily on Calgary’s defence.
“It’s a seven game series and that’s how every goes into the series, thinking let’s try to wear them down not only for tonight, but for the next game,” Jackman said. “I think that guys will be thinking about that, trying to be physical. You have to be physical on those three because they jump up on the play so much and they’re always on the offence so you have to be in their way or they’ll hurt you.”
“I had a great time in Calgary. I was there for a little over three years and everybody was great. The fans were great, the team was great, the ownership was great, and the coaching staff was great. I got to play under Bob Hartley and their coaching staff for a little while and they were great to me. They helped teach me the game and he’s a big teacher. Even when I was playing bad or wasn’t in the lineup, he still was focused on trying to make me a better hockey player and I’m thankful for everything he did for me.”
DUCKS PROJECTED LINEUP
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 Vatanen
Nate Thompson will draw into the lineup for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thompson, who recorded five goals and 18 points in 80 regular season games, missed the entire first round against the Jets due to an upper-body injury…John Gibson, who also missed four games, is expected to back up Frederik Andersen.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Ducks will be broadcast on Sportsnet (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio). Game time is 8:00 PM MT. Channel numbers for Telus, Shaw, and Bell users can be found on the Broadcast Schedule page.
The Calgary Flames official Twitter account (@NHLFlames) will be live-tweeting the game and providing pre and post-game content. Fans can also follow along on the Flames official Instagram account (@NHLFlames) for exclusive, behind-the-scenes content. Use the hashtags #NeverQuit and #CGYvsANA.
The Calgary Flames official app is another way to follow along with the action, with goal and period summary notifications. The app is free and available to download on iTunes and Google Play.