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Ducks will benefit with sweep of Flames

Early advancement gives injured defensemen Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen additional rest

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- So, are the Anaheim Ducks playing like it is 2007 all over again?

Yes and no.

They swept the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round, becoming the first team to reach the second round this postseason. Their dominance was completed with a 3-1 victory in Game 4 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

In fact, they were even more dominant than they were in the first round 10 years ago, when they needed five games to defeat the Minnesota Wild. The Ducks held the Flames to two even-strength goals in the series and never let the dynamic Johnny Gaudreau become a factor.

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Flames series coverage]

 

Still, trying to compare eras in hockey is like debating the merits of music from decade to decade. The only Ducks still around from that Stanley Cup championship team are forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and, of course, coach Randy Carlyle, who celebrated his 61st birthday on Wednesday.

The sweep gives the Ducks the chance to get their injured defensemen -- Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen -- more rest before the second round.

On paper, the sweep shouldn't be considered a major surprise considering the way the Ducks have been playing since their mandated five-day break in March. They concluded the regular season on a 14-game point streak (11-0-3).

"I think the difference came down to five on five," forward Andrew Cogliano said. "I know [Sean] Monahan had four [power-play] goals, but I thought five on five we did a pretty good job against them to keep them off the board.

"Gaudreau is one of the best players in the League and to really play against him, it's a full team effort."

Video: Gibson's 36-save game powers Ducks to series sweep

The Ducks received a bounce-back performance from goaltender John Gibson, who was pulled in Game 3, and they got to Flames goaltender Brian Elliott quickly in Game 4. Elliott was pulled at 5:38 of the first period after allowing a bad goal from a sharp angle by forward Patrick Eaves.

Getzlaf, meanwhile, praised Gibson's 36-save performance.

"He played great," Getzlaf said. "You know what? We expect nothing else from Gibby. He's a really good goalie. He's been there all year for us.

"The other night, I don't think we can really put it on him. There were some things we weren't doing properly in that game. It's nice to see him come back and play the way he did."

Still, Anaheim swept the Flames without Fowler and only one game from Vatanen. Their defense was patched together and consisted of veteran Kevin Bieksa and young players with little postseason experience.

"The way the game is trending you need to have skating, puck-moving defensemen," Carlyle said. "The kids we put in, that's what they are. It didn't really set us back other than I thought our power play lacked some zip. You cannot expect a Shea Theodore to provide five points in a series, and he did that."

And so Carlyle's reunion tour with the Ducks keeps on rolling. They will get a few days to recover before playing either the San Jose Sharks or the Edmonton Oilers. Their series is tied 2-2, with Game 5 on Thursday.

He will be counting the days.

Not his years.

"You know when you have a birthday after you get to be 50?" he said, smiling. "You stop counting."

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm4: Ducks surround Gibson following win

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