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5 Keys: Ducks at Flames, Game 4

Anaheim looks to apply pressure, sweep series; Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton hope to add energy to Calgary lineup

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS at FLAMES

10 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, PRIME

Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 3-0

CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks can advance to the Western Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win in Game 4 of their best-of-7 first-round series against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks-Flames series coverage]

 

The Ducks won Games 1 and 2 at Honda Center, each 3-2, and won a playoff game for the first time in their history when trailing by three goals in a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3 here Monday.

Anaheim is seeking its fifth sweep, first since defeating the Winnipeg Jets in the first round in 2015.

Here are 5 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Finish the job

The Ducks, who are 16-9 all-time in Game 4, their best winning percentage (.640) of any playoff-series game in their history, aren't underselling the importance of finishing off the Flames with their first opportunity.

"I know it sounds cliche, but it is the hardest (to win)," Anaheim forward Nate Thompson said. "The team on the other side is desperate. It's the biggest game of the year. They have a chance to keep this series going and we have a chance to close it out.

"I think whenever you have a chance to close a series out you want to. This is a huge opportunity for us, and it's a huge opportunity for them. It's going to be a battle out there."

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm3: Thompson tips point shot past Elliott

 

2. Big belief

Only four of the 184 teams to trail 3-0 in a series have come back to win: the Los Angeles Kings (2014), the Philadelphia Flyers (2010), the New York Islanders (1975) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (1942).  

However, the Flames aren't short on confidence.  

"Belief is an extremely powerful weapon," forward Troy Brouwer said. "We've had it on our team all season long. We've pulled ourselves out of some holes early on in the season, were able to put ourselves in a playoff spot and at one point we were contending for home ice.

"It's one thing that we have written all over this room. It's one thing guys truly put a lot of emphasis on."

 

3. Goaltending rebounds

Ducks goaltender John Gibson was pulled in Game 3 after allowing four goals on 16 shots, and has a 3.22 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in three starts. Flames goaltender Brian Elliott allowed five goals on 27 shots in Game 3, and has a 3.67 GAA and .887 save percentage in three starts.

Each is expected to be in net again.

"Every decision was scrutinized and analyzed and looked over and talked about with everybody in the organization, looking at game tape with all the coaches," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We looked at everything as tough as we could and made our decisions."

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm3: Perry beats Elliott to win Game 3 in OT

 

4. Shea Theodore shines

Theodore has become a catalyst on defense for Anaheim, which has been without defenseman Cam Fowler (lower body) for the series and defenseman Sami Vatanen (upper body) since Game 1. Theodore leads all players in the series with five points (two goals, three assists).

"I feel like I'm starting to get more comfortable and start playing my game," Theodore said. "A couple lucky bounces here and there have been going in, but I'm just going to try to keep it going."

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm3: Theodore ties it with his second goal

 

5. Fresh enthusiasm

After each was a healthy scratch for the first three games of the series, forwards Curtis Lazar and Freddie Hamilton will play for the Flames.

"I feel like I've been playing in every game," said Lazar, who had three points in four games after being acquired by Calgary from the Ottawa Senators on March 1. "Just sitting in the room, being emotionally into it just watching through the TV and stuff. You care so much.

"You play for keeps. It's the best time of year. I've been patient and I'm real excited for this opportunity."

 

Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Patrick Eaves

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie -- Antoine Vermette -- Corey Perry

Chris Wagner -- Nate Thompson -- Logan Shaw

Hampus Lindholm -- Brandon Montour

Shea Theodore -- Kevin Bieksa

Korbinian Holzer -- Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Jared Boll, Clayton Stoner, Ondrej Kase

Injured: Cam Fowler (lower body), Sami Vatanen (upper body)

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Freddie Hamilton -- Curtis Lazar -- Troy Brouwer

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Lance Bouma, Matt Stajan, Dennis Wideman, Jon Gillies

Injured: None

 

Status report

Vatanen participated in the morning skate but will not play, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. … Bouma and Stajan will come out of the lineup for Freddie Hamilton and Lazar.

 

Who's hot

Perry is two goals from tying Teemu Selanne (35) for the most in Ducks playoff history, and is the fourth Anehiem player to score two overtime playoff goals (Nick Bonino, Paul Kariya, Scott Niedermayer). … Getzlaf and Rakell each have two goals and two assists in four games. … Monahan is the first Flames player to score in each of the first three games of a series since Doug Gilmour (1989 Smythe Division Final). … Brodie has four assists in three games. … Versteeg has three points (one goal, two assists) in three games.

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