For additional insight into the Western Conference Second Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.
Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.
The Anaheim Ducks have played nine games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and for nine games, Anaheim has remained consistent and stuck to its plan, according to Frederic Chabot.
It's the Ducks' ability to do just that that has led them past the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second round. That same ability to not deviate from its blueprint will be key for Anaheim when it faces its most difficult test yet in the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, Chabot said.
"The toughest task for any team against Chicago is not giving up the puck and creating turnovers, and being very disciplined; getting the puck deep and playing in Chicago's zone," Chabot said. "Chicago's No. 1 weapon is its transition; they're so good at scoring off the rush. You want to stay away from that as much as possible.
"I think Anaheim can do it."
In Game 5 against the Flames on Sunday, a series-clinching, 3-2 overtime win, the Ducks trailed after two periods. It was the fourth time they've been in that spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but just like each of the prior games Anaheim stuck to its strategy. Chabot said the Ducks' ability to stick to their script separated them from the Flames in the Western Conference Second Round series.
"They were more consistent. They had a couple of periods maybe in Game 3 where they didn't play as well. But overall they were consistent in their effort," Chabot said. "Like the [Winnipeg] series before, they stuck to their game plan, they used their physicality when they had to, and the special teams also were really good the last few games.
"Resiliency, consistency and special teams made a big difference."
Power-play goals by Ryan Kesler in the second period and Matt Beleskey in the third tied the game after Calgary had gone ahead. Those forwards, along with Anaheim's other depth players, found ways to contribute in the series against Calgary.
"It was really nice to see how Anaheim's depth played, and how they were able to rise up to the physical level of Calgary," Chabot said. "They just kept going in the second half of [Game 5]. It was just their depth, guys like Beleskey, Andrew Cogliano, Kessler, Jakob Silfverberg, who played really well again.
"They had a big series, Kesler's line, and Beleksey scored key goals. But at the end of the day it's the leaders that finish the job."
The leader who specifically finished the job appeared to be in jeopardy. Ducks forward Corey Perry, who leads the NHL with 15 points, collided with Flames center Matt Stajan and sustained an apparent leg injury.
But Perry returned to the game and scored the series-clinching goal in overtime.
"When things like that happen it's a collision, and you saw his leg go back," Chabot said. "You never know how a player is going to answer. Sometimes it's scarier than anything, and I think that's what happened last night.
"… But he came back in the third. And as the third went on you could see he was getting stronger and looked like he was 100-percent healthy. He scored one of his typical goals: go to the net and bully everybody."
Halfway to its goal of winning a Stanley Cup, Anaheim will turn its attention to the Blackhawks.
"Calgary showed us why they made the playoffs Sunday night," Chabot said. "They made adjustments. They have speed, grit and they have skill. Both of their goalies played well at different times.
"If they keep going like that they're going to be a really good team next year. But Anaheim is the really good team right now. They're going to match up really well against Chicago."