ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks’ power play was a sore spot for the second straight regular season. It finished 28th in the NHL, a step back from 22nd last season.
But it has found its groove in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Going into Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Calgary Flames on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; CNBC, TVA Sports, SN), the Ducks were tied with the Minnesota Wild for No. 1 in the League at 33.3 percent (5-for-15), including 5-for-11 at home.
Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed to the extra preparation time Anaheim has been afforded. Defenseman Cam Fowler said there’s also incentive.
“We wanted to have that mentality to make teams pay on the scoreboard if they wanted to get physical or if they wanted to rough up some of our key guys,” Fowler said. “There’s no better way to stop a team from doing that than to score a couple of power-play goals. I think it just got us going early, especially in that Winnipeg [Jets first round] series. Momentum’s a huge thing on a power play, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
That momentum began in Game 1 of the first round, when Anaheim scored two power-play goals. The Ducks also had two power-play goals in Game 1 of the second round.
“We didn’t clinch really early but at the same time I think they knew that they were going to be there for a while, so the anticipation of this happening - being in the playoffs - they’re excited and they’re focused on every little detail,” Boudreau said. “We’ve had a chance to show so much more video normally, that I think it’s sinking in.”
The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series, 1-0. They are trying to win six straight playoff games for the first time since 2006, but said they are prepared for a big pushback after a 6-1 win in Game 1.
“[We expect] probably their best game of the year,” right wing Corey Perry said. “Everybody’s been on the losing end of a game like that. The next game you come out and you play hard, and you play one of your best games. We expect nothing less.
“If we can go in 2-0, that’s a huge advantage for us."
Anaheim took a 2-0 series lead into a frenzied atmosphere in Winnipeg, and Calgary also has a hungry fan base waiting for the Flames to return.
“History states that this will be a very good game for them," Boudreau said. "That’s what we’re anticipating.”
Here are the projected lineups:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne
Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Brandon Bollig - Josh Jooris - Drew Shore
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland
Tyler Wotherspoon - David Schlemko
Scratched: Mason Raymond, Corey Potter, Markus Granlund, David Wolf, John Ramage
Injured: Ladislav Smid (upper body), Mark Giordano (bicep), Paul Byron (lower body), Raphael Diaz (lower body), Lance Bouma (upper body)
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Kyle Palmieri
Emerson Etem - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler - Simon Despres
Sami Vatanen - Clayton Stoner
Scratched: James Wisniewski, Korbinian Holzer, Jiri Sekac, Tomas Fleischmann
Injured: John Gibson (flu)
Status report: Gibson has not been practicing and is not around the team but will travel to Calgary, Boudreau said.
Who’s hot: Perry leads the NHL with 11 points in five games. Andersen’s five straight playoff wins are the most by an Anaheim goalie since Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2007. Etem has two goals in his past two games.