ANAHEIM, CA -- The Anaheim Ducks have an opportunity to redeem themselves from last year's second round playoff exit when they failed to advance past the Los Angeles Kings.
The Ducks have a chance to put the final nail in the Flames' coffin tonight in front of their home fans and don't intend on squandering it.
"It's hard to say that they’re more determined," said Bruce Boudreau of his team after the morning skate at Honda Center. "I think they're more composed than we were last year. I think the experience -- as much as we didn't like it in the end -- helped us. I think that's a really big positive."
That experience has given the Ducks the killer instinct they need to advance into the Western Conference finals, Boudreau hopes.
"Let's face it, I thought being there last year we played six really good games in Round 2," he continued. "If things had gone our way we could have ended it and beat them in five as well.
"We lost to the Stanley Cup Champions, we didn't have a good Game 7 and I think that lingered with us and most of the group all year and they would like to make amends."
IF IT AIN'T BROKE...
A Game 4 win for Anaheim proved to them they need to stick with what works -- a well-rounded effort in both ends of the ice with a focus on playing their best game of the series tonght.
For Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf, the key to success is simple.
“Just to maintain what we’re doing," said Getzlaf, who was held pointless for the first time in the series Friday. "You can’t take anything for granted in this league. I thought we showed a lot of poise in Game 4 in Winnipeg. That was a tough win on the road. Hopefully we learn some things from that on how to keep our composure and just keep doing the things we’ve been doing.”
Getzlaf and the Ducks finished the Jets off with their most dominating performances of their opening round series with a 5-2 road win.
“I think we can learn from that game," Ducks' forward Matt Beleskey said of the series clinching victory. "We played a good solid 60 minutes that game. That’s one of the best games we’ve played, Game 4 against Winnipeg. Hopefully we can take what we learned, bring it into tonight and have that killer instinct.”
Calgary hasn't gone away all season and there's no reason to think they're going to go down without a fight. Tonight marks the first time in the postseason the Flames have faced elimination and they're best effort is expected.
“You have the opportunity to close a team out and put them away," blueliner Cam Fowler stated. "You understand the desperation they’re going to play with. Another thing is trying to match that intensity. We have to play as a desperate team tonight because opportunities like this don’t come around often. You’ve got to make the most of it.”
After prevailing in the first two games with relative ease, Anaheim's Game 3 setback prompted a couple of lineup changes. Boudreau opted to insert veteran forward Tomáš Fleischmann at the expense of 22-year-old Emerson Etem and it paid off.
Game 4 in Calgary went to the Ducks and Boudreau and his staff aren't looking to make any changes for tonight's tilt.
"Sometimes a change is just to give the other guy a little bit of a wake-up call," Boudreau said. "Sometimes they realize the threat if they don't pick it up it's going to be changed. I think Emerson is in the same boat right now -- he's dying to get back in the lineup. I thought Thomas, we put him in different situations -- four-on-four, he killed penalties, played right wing and he can also play centre -- with him we've got the versatility.
"When you win it's hard to justify changing the lines or the lineup at all because then you're trying to out-guess yourself -- I'm not really good at that."
DUCKS PROJECTED LINEUP
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Tomas Fleischmann - Rickard Rakell - Andrew Cogliano
Kyle Palmieri - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler - Simon Despres
Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen
“It’s been a good building for us over the last few years. We want to maintain that. We don’t want anyone to think they can come into our building and win, especially in the playoffs.”
- Ryan Getzlaf on playing at the Honda Center
Game 5 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.
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.
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.