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Ducks Crush Flames 6-1 in Series Opener

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For the first time in their history, the Ducks won a playoff game by a margin of five goals, and they are now one win away from tying their franchise record for most consecutive wins to start the playoffs, set in 2003.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: Ducks 6, Flames 1

Chart courtesy of War-on-ice.com

First Period Recap:

Two minutes in, Jakob Silfverberg coughed up the puck at the Calgary blue line and the Flames went the other way for the first great chance of the series. Josh Jooris skated in on a 100-foot breakaway, made a quick move to try and open up the five hole, and took a shot that Frederik Andersen got the pad on. Half a minute later Ryan Getzlaf unleashed a slapshot from just beyond the Flames' blue line that missed the net but bounced back and dinged the outside of the post, making it sound like a closer call than it actually was. Thirty seconds after that Hampus Lindholm skated below the Calgary blue line and made a good pass to Matt Beleskey, who one-timed the puck and forced Jonas Hiller to make a good save. The rebound came out to the Flames, who tried to skate up the ice but were stopped by an aggressive Lindholm backcheck.

A little more than four minutes into the game, Corey Perry cross checked Sam Bennett in Andersen's crease and went to the box. The Flames had some good zone time on the ensuing power play, but key blocks by Getzlaf on Kris Russell and Ryan Kesler on Dennis Wideman kept them from getting any Grade A opportunities. With six seconds remaining on the power play, Bennett got in a cross check of his own and made his way to the penalty box.

The Ducks spent the first minute of their power play with lots of zone time and some good passes, but aside from one Getzlaf wrist shot from the left side they didn't really threaten Hiller. Perry cut the power play short a minute in when he high-sticked TJ Brodie. During the four on four play Johnny Gaudreau committed an ugly D-zone turnover to Lindholm, who misfired on the shot. The Flames went the other way and had a two-on-one going, almost three-on-one, but Sean Monahan's shot was blocked by Francois Beauchemin. After Bennett got out of the box the Flames' best power play chance came from a Mikael Backlund wrist shot, but Andersen made the save.

Jut past the halfway mark of the period Rickard Rakell did some good work protecting the puck in the Flames' zone, ultimately passing it to Lindholm at the point. Lindholm then took a slapshot that was blocked, but he recovered the puck, moved laterally, and shot a wrist shot that went to Hiller's right. It rebounded off the boards to Kyle Palmieri, who immediately sent a backhanded no-look pass to the blue paint, where Matt Beleskey was standing relatively undefended. Beleskey made no mistake in slamming the puck past Hiller and grabbing the first lead of the series. 1-0 Ducks.

A minute later Silfverberg skated in on the right wing and fired a slapshot that rang off the post. About two minutes after that the top line had a dominant cycling shift that included one shot from Getzlaf and a bunch of behind the net passes, and then a goal. Getzlaf, who had just accepted the puck from Perry, backhanded it toward the crease from the corner to Hiller's right. Patrick Maroon had out-jostled Matt Stajan for position, so he was able to get a tip on the puck, which squeezed past Hiller. 2-0 Ducks.

With just under five minutes remaining Stajan almost redeemed himself by getting open in the slot for a one-timer, but by the time the puck came to him Andrew Cogliano was there to get a stick on the puck and block it away. The remaining shifts of the period did not produce any really dangerous chances, though Getzlaf did make a couple of good plays with the puck. A couple of minor scuffles broke out, but nothing worthy of even a minor penalty. The Ducks went into the locker room with an edge in play and on the scoreboard.

Second Period Recap:

The Flames' second line of Backlund, Bennet, and Joe Colborne started the period with a strong shift in the Ducks' zone, but never forced Andersen to make a great save. It was all for naught when a little more than two minutes into the middle frame Perry dragged the puck out from behind Hiller, walked in front to the crease, and beat Hiller stick side with a shot along the ice that he was able to take partly because Wideman did not skate down to pressure him. After the goal, Bob Hartley pulled Hiller in favor of Karri Ramo. 3-0 Ducks.

Both Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland left the game with some sort of injuries by this point.

Thirty seconds after the Perry goal, with the puck in the Ducks' zone, Nate Thompson boarded Gaudreau from a dangerous distance, and since Gaudreau popped right back up Thompson only sat for two minutes. The Flames made a great play to start out their man advantage, which involved a one-touch pass from Wideman to Russell, who one-timed the puck from the blue line. Kesler blocked the shot, and Silfverberg picked up the puck and iced it. Later on in the power play Backlund walked into the high slot and ripped a wrist shot that Andersen stopped with a flashy glove save. Just before the penalty expired Silfverberg skated up ice with the puck shorthanded, took a shot toward Hiller, recollected the rebound himself, burned some time, and sent a great pass to Getzlaf, who then helped the Ducks control the puck for a while in the O zone. A minute and a half later Thompson skated in on a half-break, but missed with his slapshot.

Maroon absorbed a hit from Deryk Engelland along the boards and went to the locker room, but emerged and rejoined play a few minutes later. About nine minutes into the game Backlund found himself around the slot with the puck and made a great pass to David Jones, who could not finish.

Just past the halfway point of the hockey game Beauchemin fired a slapshot from the right point, and Ramo booted the rebound directly into the slot. Tim Jackman was doing a great job battling in front, allowing Emerson Etem enough time and space to grab the rebound and bury it past Ramo. 4-0 Ducks.

On the next shift Backlund (who has looked pretty good) rushed up the ice with his linemates, but before anything could come of it Silfverberg broke up the play. A minute after that Getzlaf made two great offensive zone passes to Beauchemin: first from down low to the point to create a shot attempt, and then from near the blue line to down low, where Beauch had snuck down and tried a tip play.

Fourteen and a half minutes into the period Engelland shot the puck from center ice and it sneaked through Andersen's pads. Freddie saved himself from becoming a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons by getting a glove on the puck before it made it past the goal line.

Three minutes after that Kesler had himself a whale of a shift, sending a perfect pass to a wide-open, in the slot Silfverberg not once but twice. Silfverberg one-timed both attempts, and Ramo made a save on the first one and I think Silfverberg missed the second one.

With 70 seconds remaining in the period Drew Shore knocked Andersen over, earning two minutes for goaltender interference. The Ducks closed out the period with some good zone time with the extra man, but they didn't offer anything more dangerous than a Getzlaf one-timer that missed the net.

Third Period Recap:

The Ducks started the period on the power play, and Getzlaf got things going with a slapshot from the right circle that just missed. Not long after that he passed to Perry, who walked in on Ramo on the left side and took a shot from in close that went off the left post and in for the first power play goal of the series. 5-0 Ducks.

On the next shift Silfverberg carried the puck in and passed to Simon Despres, who took a wrist shot from the right side of the high slot that Ramo gobbled up. As that happened Brandon Bollig tussled with Kesler, and Bollig got sent off for roughing. A little more than halfway through the power play Sami Vatanen made a pass from the high slot to Getzlaf on the doorstep to Ramo's right, where Getzlaf was able to beat the Calgary goaltender with an easy shot for another power play goal. 6-0 Ducks.

Half a minute after that Bollig went to the box again, but this time he took Jackman with him when both players cross-checked each other while they lined up for a face-off. Rakell and Backlund each came up with impressive skating plays during the ensuing four-on-four, each making the opposing goalie make a save. In fairness, Backlund's play, which included some slick stickhandling, was more impressive. A couple minutes later Jooris made a pass to Colborne in front of Andersen, but Colborne chose to pass instead of taking the shot, and Jooris was unable to get the handle on the return pass.

With twelve minutes left Russell took a one-time from the point and Andersen made a good save through traffic, but booted out a rebound into a mish-mash of players, none of whom could muster another attempt at his net.

Just over a minute later Engelland dumped the puck into the zone and Beauchemin went back behind Andersen to retrieve it, but it took a funny bounce off his right skate and right to Bennett, who was unguarded in the slot. The rookie slammed the puck home, far side on a helpless Andersen. 6-1 Ducks.

Unsurprisingly, the last ten minutes were relatively uneventful, especially the last two or three. Jones slashed Lindholm and gave the Ducks another power play, which they didn't do anything with. Right after it expired Cogliano sent a puck toward Ramo that bounced off Silfverberg and into the net, but the goal was waived off because Silfverberg prevented Ramo from making a play. Good call.

Gaudreau sat on the bench during the entire third period, not taking a single shift. Neither Hudler nor Ferland skated after the first 25 minutes of the game, but they both left with injuries, whereas Gaudreau appears to simply have been benched.

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The Good: Everything about this game was good, if not great. The Ducks dominated at even strength, killed all three of their penalties, scored on two of their four power plays, and let the Flames know exactly who they're dealing with. Andersen didn't have to be great, but he was anyway. And guess what? No blowout-fueled brawls to close it out.

The Bad: I guess the bounce off Beauchemin that led to Bennett's goal? That or Silfverberg's early turnover?

The Ugly: The Vancouver Canucks.

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3rd MVD: Hampus Lindholm — There are a ton of deserving names here, but I'll go with the Hamp. His two assists were smart plays from the point, and he could have had another if Beleskey had buried that first-period chance (which he did later on Palmieri's feed anyway).

2nd MVD: Corey Perry — His first assist came on a vintage Twins shift, his first goal was the backbreaker that sent Hiller to the bench, and his other two points were just having fun.

1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf — Four points are four points, and picking him over Perry is splitting hairs, but I just loved the fact that he was shooting the puck most chances he got.

Next Game: Game 2, Sunday May 3, 7:00 PM @ Honda Center