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.
With the Calgary Flames looking to swing momentum in their favor, coach Bob Hartley elected to start goalie Karri Ramo in Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks.
With Ramo, who plays a much more aggressive style than Game 1 starter Jonas Hiller, the Ducks had to make an adjustment. But so did the Flames, according to Frederic Chabot.
"It's not really easy to do, when you have two goalies of very different styles it's tougher to make an adjustment and it showed early in the game" Chabot said. "With Ramo Calgary has to protect his back side. He's pretty good on the shooter, but he will challenge open chances more than the average guy, so they have to make sure they try to eliminate weak-side chances."
Early in the first period Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was stopped on what looked like a sure goal when Ramo went post-to-post on a cross-ice, 2-on-1 pass to stop a Getzlaf one-timer. Forward Matt Beleskey would score on a similar sequence about four minutes later.
"It was obvious Anaheim was trying to, because Ramo's aggressive style; Anaheim wanted to make a pass across the zone early on the 2-on-1 to try to catch him off-guard and out of position," Chabot said. "It almost worked with Getzlaf and it did work with Beleskey."
Chabot said he though Ramo played well in the Flames' 3-0 loss, but the rest of the game seemed similar to Game 1, a 6-1 Ducks victory.
"It's details," Chabot said. "Anaheim didn't really change their game plan. Their forecheck was really good. What was really good for Anaheim last night was their neutral-zone trap, or forecheck. It created a lot of turnovers early and a lot of chances in transition. That was one part of Anaheim's game that was really good.
"Overall you saw all their lines were really efficient."
One area Chabot said the Flames need to improve as the series shifts to Calgary for Game 3 on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; USA, TVA Sports, SN) is offensive contributions from their defensemen.
"Calgary's defense during the season was a big part of their offense," Chabot said. "They were very active, they created chances; they scored a lot of goals themselves."
Chabot said that even without injured top defenseman Mark Giordano, the Calgary defense still has the ingredients to be effective.
"Right now it hasn't been happening," Chabot said. "We saw it a little more as the game went on Sunday. We started seeing a more active blue line and guys creating offense. But they haven't scored. Theyhaven't created enough yet so they have to find a way to activate their defense, and their blue line has to help on the offensive side of the puck."
Ramo proved during Game 2 that he can keep Calgary close. He made 31 saves, including stops on a number of high-quality scoring chances; according to War-on-Ice.com, Anaheim had 24 even-strength scoring chances to Calgary's 15.
Chabot believes the Flames can turn things around at Scotiabank Saddledome, but said it won't be easy.
"Anaheim is the best team in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs right now and Calgary has to find a way to win one game," Chabot said. "Anaheim is such a more mature and bigger team. They have a game plan and they stay with it.
"For younger and smaller players it's hard to match the intensity, the intelligence and the patience that Anaheim has."