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Ducks' Boudreau aims for elusive conference final

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was asked Saturday about getting over the hump, but he wouldn't budge.

The storyline is too juicy to ignore: With a win against the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), Boudreau would advance past the second round to the conference final for the first time in his NHL coaching career after three unsuccessful attempts.

Anaheim has a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and would advance to the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I try not to think about it," Boudreau said during a conference call. "I know it's cliché. I'm just trying to think about tomorrow. Because if you think about tomorrow and it goes successfully, then everything else will take care of itself and then you'll have enough time to think about other things. I haven't put really any thought into playing Chicago at all."

Pressed more about those thoughts, Boudreau said, "Well, it's probably trying to get in there, but I won' let it. I just don't want to think about it. The last two games, even three games, have been so tough. The minute you start thinking about putting the cart before the horse, you're in trouble."

It's easy to see why Boudreau and the Ducks are poised to get to the final four for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. They are 4-0 at Honda Center in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anaheim and Calgary were among the best teams in the NHL at third-period comebacks, but the Ducks have outscored the Flames 6-2 in the third period of this series; Anaheim's only loss of the playoffs came in Game 3, when Calgary scored in the third and again in overtime.

Boudreau said the third periods have been closer than statistics indicate but mentioned special teams as part of their success. In Game 4, that yielded the game-winning power-play goal by Matt Beleskey in the third when the Ducks killed a two-man disadvantage. Anaheim's power play is 7-for-25 (28 percent).

"It's the same power play, the individuals have paid attention to the details," Boudreau said. "We know what we're supposed to be doing, and we're doing it, and I think that's been the biggest difference on the power play, the attention to the details."

It helps that Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen has a 7-1 record, 1.96 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. His second-period save on Johnny Gaudreau in Game 4 was proof that he's capable of being a big-game goaltender.

"He's made the big save at the right time," Boudreau said. "To me, that's the important thing. You can make great saves when you're down two or three goals, but when you make that great save when you're up a goal or your tied to keep your team in it like he did [Friday] was really, really big."

Boudreau said he probably won't make any lineup changes for Game 5. He said left wing Tomas Fleischmann didn't show rust and was solid on a line with center Rickard Rakell and right wing Tim Jackman.

Boudreau lost in the second round twice as coach of the Washington Capitals and last season with Anaheim, in Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings, which has motivated the Ducks throughout this season.

Asked if he feels people pulling for him, Boudreau said, "I hope my friends are pulling for me and I hope my family is pulling for me. But other than that, I have no idea."

Boudreau and Calgary coach Bob Hartley each coached Hershey of the American Hockey League, and Boudreau joked about talking to friends from there this time of year.

"They might be telling me, 'Go get 'em,' but they might be phoning Bob right after and telling him to 'Go get 'em' too, so I don't know who to believe sometimes," Boudreau said.

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