Calgary Flames –

Learning from Round 1: Calgary needs to improve their PK. They killed 13 of 16 shorthanded opportunities in their series against the Canucks (81.2 percent), a nearly identical rate as the regular season when they finished 20th at 80.6 percent. They were fortunate that they were successful on their penalty kill in crucial moments of the series, but luck doesn’t get you very far in the playoffs. The Flames won their first game against the Canucks trailing 1-0 in the third period of Game 1 but scored twice in the third to win it, capped by defenseman Kris Russell’s goal with 29.6 seconds left. In Game 6, the Flames trailed 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the game and 4-3 entering the third period but scored four goals in the final 20 minutes to win it 7-4. Just because they can win late in the game doesn’t mean they should. They need to buckle down earlier to avoid the uncomfortable position of fighting for goals in the final period.

Winning Formula: They need to go into each game believing that they can win. The Ducks are intimidating as the top seed, but if the Flames play well in their own barn and steal the home-ice advantage from the Ducks the way they did with the Canucks in the first round they have a shot at moving on. They have been looking great on defense. The Flames were 13th in the NHL on the power play during the regular season, scored four of their 11 goals through the first five games with the man-advantage. Five of Calgary’s 18 goals came on the power play; they went 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) in the 1st round, and they will need to keep that up going against the Ducks.


Anaheim Ducks –

Learning from Round 1: The Ducks were not challenged much offensively during the first round against the Jets. They cannot expect the same situation from the Flames. The Ducks became the first team in playoff history to win three games in a row when trailing after two periods, but as their playoff run continues the forwards need to find the back of the net earlier to provide a safety net.

Winning Formula: This series may be in the forwards hands as both teams have a tendency of earning their wins late in the game. Anaheim gave new life to its power play in the first round, scoring three goals in Games 1 and 2 after it was 1-for-23 in the final 11 regular-season games. They need to also take advantage of their ability to draw penalties. The Ducks got 11 power plays in the four games after it got two or fewer in six of its final nine regular-season games.

Goalie Matchup: The Duck’s Frederik Andersen improved since last year’s playoffs from 3.10 goals-against average and .899 save percentage to  2.20 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Two of the nine goals he allowed came with Winnipeg on the power play. John Gibson didn’t play in the first round because of an upper-body injury; his status for the second round is unknown. Jason LaBarbera has been the backup for the position.  Andersen is likely the starter for the series based on performance and experience. Calgary has more offensive depth than Winnipeg, and Andersen likely will be tested more. It will be the furthest Andersen has gone in the postseason; as he was injured last year mid-playoffs. The Flames had Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo split time in the net for most of the regular season, but after Ramo sustained a lower-body injury on April 4th, Calgary went with Hiller as their No. 1 tendy for the playoffs. It worked out well for the Flames until Game 6, when Hiller allowed two goals on three shots and Ramo took over making 17 saves on 19 shots to earn the win in relief. Hiller, who spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Ducks before signing with the Flames as a free agent last summer, had a 1.84 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in the first five games against the Canucks. He has 32 games of playoff experience compared to Ramo’s two.

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Read about the Ducks and the Flames first round matchups.

Read recaps of the Ducks Round 1 series: Games: 1, 2, 3, 4.