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5 Keys: Flames at Ducks, Game 2

Anaheim gains muscle with return of Nick Ritchie; Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau needs to produce

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

FLAMES at DUCKS

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-W

Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 1-0

 

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks will look to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames on Saturday following a 3-2 victory in Game 1 at Honda Center on Thursday.

Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who have won 22 consecutive regular-season games and six straight Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Flames at home since a 5-2 loss on April 25, 2006, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:

 

1. Discipline

The Ducks and Flames each discussed the need to stay out of the penalty box prior to Game 1, and neither side followed through.

Calgary hurt itself the most with seven minor penalties resulting in two power-play goals, the second giving Anaheim a 3-2 lead at 17:47 of the second period after the Ducks had kept the puck in the Flames zone the first 1:25 of the man-advantage.

The Ducks had considerably more offensive-zone time on power plays throughout the game, and the Flames can't afford to give them more favorable opportunities and disrupt their own rhythm.

"If you can win the special-teams battle within the game, usually your chances for success go up dramatically," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

 

2. Getting heavier

The Ducks often are described as a heavy team, and they'll be heavier in Game 2.

Forward Nick Ritchie returns to the lineup following a two-game suspension for roughing Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival on April 6. Ritchie (6-foot-2, 232 pounds) will replace Ondrej Kase (6-foot, 180), who was sent down to San Diego of the American Hockey League.

Ritchie was eighth in the NHL in hits during the regular season (247), and his 14 goals were the most among the top 12 players in the League in hits.

"If he doesn't show a physical presence, if he doesn't get on the puck in the tough areas, then he's not a very effective player," Carlyle said.

 

3. Randy Carlyle vs. Glen Gulutzan

Carlyle will be coaching his 71st career NHL playoff game on Saturday and is 40-30 in the postseason. Gulutzan will be coaching his second NHL playoff game following his debut in Game 1.

Two of the areas Carlyle has long been lauded for are his in-game adjustments and decisions regarding matchups and line changes.

The Flames were caught off-guard changing all five players during the second period of Game 1, and Rickard Rakell scored on the rebound of a Getzlaf shot on a 2-on-0 with Patrick Eaves to tie it 2-2 at 13:53. Calgary never led again.

"As a coach, certainly, you have to be the guy that presents himself as the guy that's calm and in control," Gulutzan said.

 

4. Ryan Kesler vs. Mikael Backlund

Kesler and Backlund spent considerable time chasing each other up and down the ice in Game 1. Neither had a point, but Kesler won 13 of 21 faceoffs, compared to 10 of 27 for Backlund. 

Kesler's first faceoff win in the opening minute led to a power-play goal by Getzlaf five seconds later.

The final seconds of Game 1 ticked down with Kesler sitting on the puck in the Ducks zone and Backlund nearly bending him in half in an attempt to push him off. Backlund and linemates Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik each was held off the score sheet and had a minus-1 rating.

"Our line wasn't good enough. We've got to be way better," Backlund said.

Video: CHI@ANA: Kesler nets Cogliano's spinning feed

 

5. Production from Johnny Gaudreau

Gaudreau led Calgary with 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists) during the regular season but has no points in four consecutive games dating to the regular season, matching his longest stretch since the first five games of the 2014-15 season.

Three of the Flames' past four opponents have been Anaheim (twice) and the Los Angeles Kings, two teams that led the League in hits. Gaudreau (5-foot-9, 157 pounds) could be at a disadvantage with so little space to work and the tempo elevated for the playoffs.

Still, he and linemates Sean Monahan and Micheal Ferland had some prime scoring opportunities in Game 1, but only Monahan scored, with an early power-play goal.

"When we get our scoring chances, we've got to find the net," Gaudreau said.

Video: SJS@CGY: Gaudreau tallies off Bennett's pretty feed

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Troy Brouwer

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie - Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Rasmus Andersson, Dennis Wideman, Jon Gillies

Injured: None 

 

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

Sami Vatanen -- Kevin Bieksa

Shea Theodore -- Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Jared Boll, Clayton Stoner, Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Cam Fowler (lower body)

 

Status report

Kase had filled in for Ritchie on the third line with Vermette and Perry. He was recalled from San Diego on April 5 to fill in for Thompson, who missed the game against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 6 with an upper-body injury. Kase had one assist and was plus-1 in three games since his recall. ... Johnson will return as Elliott's backup after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury.

 

Who's hot

Monahan has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games. ... Versteeg had two assists in Game 1 and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak dating to the regular season. ... Getzlaf has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in a six-game point streak and 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in his past 19 games. ... Silfverberg has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven games. ... Eaves had an assist on Silfverberg's goal in Game 1 and has six points (four goals, two assists) in a six-game point streak. … Rakell has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak.

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