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Ducks/Flames: "Expert" Predictions

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Talking heads around the league handicap Round Two.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Again, I still think that the AC community knows more about the Ducks than any national hockey writer (particularly the Canadian ones...take that Jets upset pick, Sportsnet!), but here are are some previews and predictions from about the Ducks/Flames series from the heavy hitters in the national hockey media:

Sports Illustrated

About the Ducks: "Despite what you might hear elsewhere, including from the Ducks themselves, their first-round elimination of the Jets was exactly as easy as the sweep suggests. Whatever pushback Winnipeg offered, Anaheim was able to answer thanks to its depth, physical play and a steady performance in net by Frederik Andersen. They’ll rely on those elements again against the Flames."

About the Flames: "This one’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? As the lower-seeded team, the Flames need to take care of business at the Saddledome and win at least one game on the road to advance. Unfortunately, that might pose a problem. Calgary hasn’t beaten the Ducks on their home pond since 2004, a span of 20 games (0-15-5). Just two of those losses were accrued this season, but you get the point. There’s some kind of crazy Kryptonite mojo to this building, and if the Flames can’t work their way around it, this is going to be a short series."

PREDICTION: "In the first round, both of these teams enhanced their reputations for resilience. Anaheim staged three third-period comebacks in its sweep of the Jets. The Flames did it twice against the Canucks. That’s a reminder that no lead should be taken for granted in this series. Calgary’s lunch pail gang has plenty of heart, but they just don’t have the talent to outlast the deeper, more experienced Anaheim squad. Ducks in 5." -Allan Muir

ESPN

(.com of course, there's no hockey on ESPN, silly goose)

About the Ducks: "Both teams showed their resilience in the first round of the playoffs. The Ducks trailed after two periods in three of their four games against Winnipeg. They led for just 38:26 minutes total...The Ducks want to shake off the label of underachievers. Anaheim was the second seed in the Western Conference in 2013 but lost in the first round, and was the top seed last year but lost in the second round."

About the Flames: "One thing the Flames do very well is block shots. Calgary led the league during the regular season with 1,557 blocks. Defenseman Kris Russell had the most of any player with 283, Dennis Wideman was sixth (184) and T.J. Brodie was eighth (178)."

PREDICTION: "The Flames go into this series as the underdogs with the feel-good story. They are riding the momentum of their victory over Vancouver, but reality will soon set in. The Ducks are rested after their sweep of Winnipeg. They have a deeper, more talented team than Calgary. Ducks in six." - Scott Burnside

CBS Sports

About Bruce Boudreau the Ducks: "Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau has led a team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times prior to this season. He has seen a conference final on exactly zero of those trips. This year marks the fourth time in Boudreau's career as a head coach in the NHL he will have led a team to at least the second round."

About the Flames: "The Flames also scored nine goals in the third period, which represented 50 percent of their total goal output in their six-game series win over the Vancouver Canucks. Of course, that total was aided by the four goals they scored in the third-period barrage against the Canucks in Game 6. Two of those were empty-netters, so their postseason third-period stats are a tad inflated.

That said, the Flames led the NHL over the course of the regular season with 99 third-period goals. That represented 41.7 percent of their total scoring in 2014-15. They also only allowed 68 goals during the closing 20 minutes this year, which was the ninth-best mark in the NHL." - Chris Peters

PREDICTION: Adam Gretz picks the Ducks in five, and Chris Peters picks the Ducks in six. (This is their only unanimous pick).

Sportsnet

About the Ducks: "...Anaheim has playoff experience over Calgary, it is really only experience at losing. The Ducks have made the playoffs in three of the past five seasons prior to this one, yet they’ve only won one round. The heat is on this good team to accomplish something in the post-season, especially with the Kings having won two of the past three Stanley Cups."

About Jonas Hiller the Flames: "In goal, Hiller (.931) came through Round 1 with a stronger save percentage than Ducks starter Frederik Anderson (.924), but he was left off the hook on a lot of rebounds he shot right back into the Calgary slot. Anaheim will have more success against a smaller Calgary defence at accessing those rebounds, so Hiller will have to tidy up his game."

PREDICTION: "I had Calgary beating Vancouver in Round 1, and that might be the first time I’ve been right on the Flames all season long. Time to get back to being wrong again. Ducks in five." - Mark Spector

USA Today

About the Ducks: "Their one-two center combination of Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler is a far greater challenge than the Flames faced against Vancouver. These bruising guys can wear you down over seven games. 2. Anaheim's secondary scoring is deep. Jakob Silfverberg stepped up in the first round, with six points in four games. Emerson Etem is probably the most dynamic scoring fourth-liner in the NHL today. 3. Anaheim's defense is better than you realize. Sami Vatanen is an underrated puck-mover. Simon Despres gives the Ducks a big body. Francois Beauchemin and Hampus Lindholm are workhorses."

About the Flames: "1. The line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler combined for 17 points in the last series. 2. These Flames don't quit. They have a history of coming from behind. They are gritty and relentless. They are shot-blocking zealots. 3. They must feel like they are playing with house money. Nobody expected as much from them as they expect from themselves. This group acts as if it doesn't know the meaning of pressure."

PREDICTION: "The Ducks will avoid being burned by the Flames by being the best five-on-five team in the series. The Flames' propensity for rallying doesn't worry the Ducks, who held second-intermission leads 94% of the time in the regular season. Take the Ducks in six." - Kevin Allen

NHL.com

"DUCKS WILL WIN IF ... They continue to get secondary scoring against Hiller, who knows them well and whose 2.20 goals-against average was identical to Andersen's in the first round. The Ducks' high-end skill players led the way against the Jets, but the Flames mirror the Ducks in that they are known for rallying to win late. If the Ducks can come at the Flames with waves of effective forwards, it will go a long way to keep the Flames from another late rally."

"FLAMES WILL WIN IF ... They can overcome the mental barrier of playing in Anaheim and steal home-ice advantage. The Flames were able to steal home ice away against the Canucks and went undefeated in three games at Scotiabank Saddledome to close their first-round series in six games."

E.J. Hradek has the Ducks moving on but does not specify how many games in this video, the closest thing we could find to a second round prediction on the team's website.

The Score

"Who's Winning: Anaheim

Why: Calgary isn't very good." - Justin Bourne  [Ed. Note:  In fairness he goes on, but that's just funny. Bourne rules. -CK]

Puck Daddy

To balance that out, Ryan Lambert (Calgary fan and troll extraordinaire) picked Flames in 4 because, "The Flames are the best team in the league and they work so hard so they're going to run to the Cup with ease."

The rest of the Puck Daddy/Yahoo crew picked like so:

Greg Wyshynski:  Ducks in 5, Sean Leahy: Ducks in 6, Josh Cooper:  Ducks in 5, Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs: Ducks in 5, Chuck and Pants from "What's Up Ya Sieve": Ducks in 5, Sam McCaig:  Ducks in 5, Nick Cotsonika: Ducks in 5.

...Last but certainly not least, our old friend Jen Neale has Ducks in 6,  and this to say about it:

"I see the Flames as a younger version of the Ducks in the early part of the Bruce Boudreau era. They have a few stars, up-and-coming talent, and some veterans mixed in; however, that group is not as fine tuned as it will likely be in the next season or two. When Derryk Engelland and a guy with the last name of Wutherspoon are in your Top 6, things aren't ideal, and yes, part of it can be chalked up to injuries. The Ducks mix is just better suited for a longer playoff run because of experience. Calgary will be dangerous, but not just yet."

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Watching Johnny Gaudreau and Jonas Hiller work their magic will probably be fun/terrifying, but again, most of the talking heads are predicting that the Ducks will take this round.