Final Score: Anaheim Ducks 3, Calgary Flames 0
Contrary to earlier speculation, Micheal Ferland was not in the lineup for Calgary in Game 2. Drew Shore was scratched as well, making room for David Wolf to draw into the lineup. Johnny Gaudreau began the night on the second line, and in his place on the top line was Sam Bennett.
The game began as a continuation of where Game 1 left off. The Ducks began taking rushes at Karri Ramo almost instantly, and no early chance was as good as Ryan Getzlaf's. The Captain took a cross-ice feed and had most of the net to shoot at, but Ramo reached out with the glove and got enough of the rising puck to keep his net clean. Ryan Kesler came incredibly close to breaking the ice a couple minutes later after flying down the wing on a zone entry. His wrist shot from the left faceoff circle got past Ramo's glove, but it couldn't beat the iron.
Ramo continued to weather the storm as long as he could, but it was only a matter of time until the Ducks' dominance broke through him. After going a little overboard on forecheck pressure, the Flames got caught slightly behind an Anaheim breakout, and Ryan Kesler and Matt Beleskey found themselves on a 2-on-1. Kesler threw some perfect sauce across the ice over the stick of Sean Monahan right to Beleskey's tape, and this time, Ramo couldn't get from one side of the net to the other quite quick enough. Ducks 1, Flames 0
Calgary's aggressive strategy has been an ill-advised one against the Ducks, and it wasn't exactly one that paid off for them in their attempts to answer Anaheim's first goal. Deryk Engelland got sent to the box for roughing up Corey Perry, sending the postseason's top-ranked power play unit to work for the first time of the night. They came up empty-handed, but like the story up until that point had gone, Karri Ramo was the reason why the lead stayed at one.
During yet another Ducks possession, Jiri Hudler got caught holding Clayton Stoner during a Calgary clearing attempt, forcing his penalty kill to roll up their sleeves once again. The Ducks only had a minute to work with instead of the usual two, however, after Hampus Lindholm tripped up Sean Monahan in a race to a loose puck on its way out of Ramo's end of the ice. Although the bar was set incredibly low, the ensuing minute or so that Calgary had on the power play resulted in their best chances of the night by far. Still, none of them really had much of a shot to get past Frederik Andersen, and after Lindholm was released, the Ducks returned to instilling their dominance.
Not much time remained in the first period after play returned to even strength, and the clock reached triple zeroes with the Ducks holding a 1-0 lead over
Karri Ramo Calgary. The shot count was also strongly shifted towards Anaheim, with a 20-9 advantage for the home team.
Almost immediately after the puck was dropped, Lindholm made a return to the penalty box, again for tripping with Hudler on the receiving end. Again, the Flames' attempts to generate some momentum were slightly more effective when they had one more guy on the ice, but the penalty kill did well to keep the Calgary attack on the perimeter. They had their first good chance of the night when Mason Raymond picked the pocket of Nate Thompson right in front of Andersen, but the Anaheim tendy shut down the five-hole to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
Miscommunication and mishandled pucks from the Ducks allowed Calgary a little bit of hope. The vicegrip that this game was held in slowly began to loosen, and the period began to become reminiscent of a typical second period from your Anaheim Ducks. By some misplaced benevolence, Sean Monahan gave his opponents a chance to regain their hold on the game when the refs caught him holding Lindholm along the boards. With the exception of Patrick Maroon taking a swing at a loose puck beside Ramo, chances were minimal, and the Anaheim power play dropped to 0/3 on the night.
Both teams traded chances about three-quarters of the way through the period, beginning with Anaheim. Another Duck odd-man rush between Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey began to materialize, but a diving Deryk Engelland broke up the set-up pass. Seconds later, with the puck behind Andersen, Francois Beauchemin threw the puck right to Joe Colborne, but Freddie calmly gloved the chance with a little bit of flair.
Of course, it wouldn't be your typical second period if something bad didn't happen down the stretch. As the Flames entered the offensive zone, a backchecking Beleskey got his stick tied up in Johnny Gaudreau's skates, and as the Calgary skater went down, the zebra's arm went up. Fortunately, the penalty kill effortlessly cleared the zone long enough to kill the remaining time on the clock, and ensured the Ducks maintained their 1-0 lead. Shots were also still in Anaheim's favor, but the visitors shortened the gap, making the count after 40 sit at 29-21.
Need something good to take from that period? Don't fret, everyone, your buddy Ben (and SB Nation) has you covered!
The best thing about defending against a power play at the beginning of a period is the fact that the play starts outside the zone, costing the opposition precious seconds as they attempt to gain possession and cross the blue line. The Flames began the period with 1:22 of power play time, but they didn't really threaten until about a minute later. The Ducks didn't have too much time left to kill off, and they got Beleskey back on the ice without surrendering a single shot on goal.
The third continued as an extension of the second, more or less. Playing with purpose now that they weren't getting annihilated, the Flames continued to generate much of the pressure, desperate for the game-tying goal. The Ducks, on the other hand, were having some difficulties simply clearing their zone. The funny thing about hockey, though, is the fact that a single shot can shift the momentum of a game drastically. Corey Perry took a pass from Getzlaf and entered the zone. At the top of the faceoff circle, he dropped the puck to Hampus Lindholm, who unleashed a filthy wrist shot that smoked Ramo and his glove on the short side's top corner. Ducks 2, Flames 0
Slightly stunned by the quick turn of events (and maybe the savagery of the "We want Hiller" chants), the intensity of the Flames attack dropped off a little bit, making it easier on the Ducks to kill the remaining few minutes of regulation. Out of options, Bob Hartley yanked Ramo for the extra man with just over three minutes remaining. Anaheim was eventually able to clear the zone, and after Nate Thompson found himself with the puck at center ice, he took a stride past the line and fired it home. That's game, ladies and gentlemen. Ducks 3, Flames 0
The remainder of the game was merely a formality as the result was all but set in stone. With the exception of Emerson Etem and Mikael Backlund getting chippy, as were Rickard Rakell and Joe Colborne, the Ducks' final order of business was to preserve Andersen's shutout, his first career goose egg in the postseason. Anaheim successfully defended home ice with a 3-0 win and barely finished with the edge in shots by a 34-30 margin.
The Good: This team sure knows how to win. 2-0 series lead. 6-0 in playoffs. 9-1 scoring margin against Calgary. Far from perfect hockey, but they keep ending up on the right side of the scoreboard, and there's no better time of the year to get hot like this than right now.
The Bad: That being said... the second period and most of the third were tough to watch. This was one of those games where the score wasn't a great representation of how close the game actually was. Karri Ramo did a fantastic job at keeping his team afloat long enough for them to start developing chances of their own, but they just couldn't beat Freddie. Calgary is still not a team that should be taken lightly, and now that the series shifts up to the Saddledome, they don't need any reason to think they can hang around and steal a game or two. About 30 of the game's final 40 minutes showed otherwise.
The Ugly: Calgary trying to bring out the goon squad when the game was already lost... or at any point in the game, really. As it's previously been established, it's not a strategy that works well for them at all. Not exactly a bad thing for the Ducks when their opposition tries to play to their weaknesses, but it makes me think of that redheaded bully from A Christmas Story, who acts like the toughest dude in front of the rest of the kids but just ends up getting the snot beaten out of him by Ralphie. You're better than that, Flames.
3rd MVD: Corey Perry. Two assists on the night, and while neither of them were as skillful as Kesler's, it's still an incredible feat that Perry has now notched his fourth multi-point game of Anaheim's six-game playoff run. He's still averaging a little more than two points per game, and I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing that trend continue in the slightest.
2nd MVD: Ryan Kesler. Kesler was a threat to Calgary at their end of the ice on multiple occasions tonight, whether he was going for a goal, or looking to set one up. His chance off the pipe almost got the ball rolling for the Ducks, but their first goal couldn't have been scored without him. Perfect pass to Beleskey that left his teammate with a wide-open net to hit, and it doesn't hurt that he did better in the faceoff circle (55%) than every Flame that took a draw tonight.
1st MVD: Frederik Andersen. 30 saves on 30 shots for his first playoff shutout. Freddie was on top of his game all night, even at the times when the players in front of him weren't. Overall, it looks like he's been showing a heck of a lot more poise and calmness in the crease than he did in last year's playoffs. When Andersen's at his best, physically and mentally, he plays like one of the top goalies in the league. That's what we've been seeing lately, and it's one of the biggest assets for a Cup-contending team to have.
Next Game: Game 3 Tuesday, May 5th, 6:30 PM PST @ Scotiabank Saddledome