Final Score: Ducks 4 - Flames 2
Chart courtesy www.war-on-ice.com
Proceedings began fast and furious as the teams chalked up the first three goals of the game within the opening 5:44 of action. Andrew Cogliano helped create the first quality chance of the game just over two minutes in by carrying the puck in to the offensive zone and setting up Hampus Lindholm for a shot that Karri Ramo denied, and Cogliano had a crack at the rebound in front.
Corey Perry drew the first penalty of the game when the returning Lance Bouma caught him with a high stick. It took the Ducks just over a minute to convert when Francois Beauchemin zipped Ryan Kesler a pretty stretch pass to lead in to the offensive zone. Kesler dropped it for a trailing Jakob Silfverberg in the near circle, who twisted a wrister over the shoulder and off the glove of Ramo for a 1-0 Anaheim advantage at 3:58.
The Calgary response came quickly, as Johnny Gaudreau took a pass at center ice and sped in to the Ducks zone and sent Hampus Lindholm sprawling with a nasty juke move. His drive to the net was stopped by Frederik Andersen, but the rebound kicked over to Sean Monahan at the opposite post for the slam back to tie the game 1-1 just 39 seconds later.
A power move to the front of the net by Perry gave Anaheim an opportunity to go back ahead, but Ramo was equal and the rebound was cleared. Micheal Ferland carried the puck through center along the near boards, powering through a Ryan Getzlaf check and taking advantage of a pick by Matt Stajan at the blue line that sent Sami Vatanen tumbling to the ice. With the clear path Ferland skated to the near circle and blasted a slapper short side past the blocker of Andersen to put Calgary ahead 2-1.
Energized by the goal the Flames held the majority of play following the lead change, with Andersen making stops but leaving rebounds requiring the attention of his defensemen. Anaheim's next best chance came in the final three minutes of the period, as a point shot created an appetizing rebound but was cleared by Calgary. Vatanen wheeled around the net in the offensive zone and got a chance, helping a solid push from the second line to end the period.
For the first twenty the Flames out-shot Anaheim 11-9, but the Ducks attempted one more at 18-17 at even strength. Anaheim was better at creating chances at even strength by a 10-7 margin.
The opening chance went to the Ducks, with Silfverberg and Nate Thompson in front of Ramo jostling for a rebound and able to get it on net but not past the goalie. Calgary's best early look came on a point shot over five minutes in that Andersen kicked away, only for the rebound to go to Gaudreau who Andersen denied on the second chance with the pad.
Past the midway point the top line worked a strong cycle in the offensive zone, leading to a chance in front for Patrick Maroon that Ramo denied. Andersen would make a save on a breakaway, and with 6:34 remaining Calgary got caught with too many men on the ice. The power play bore no fruit, but the shift following did.
Cogliano created a turnover on the forecheck in the Flames zone, and worked a give-and-go with Kyle Palmieri that sprung him free in front of the net. A stick fake opened up Ramo's five hole, and Cogliano snapped the shot through leveling things 2-2 at the 16:42 mark.
In the final minute Calgary saw a shot from Monahan ring off the post to the glove side of Andersen, but more damaging Joe Colborne got his stick high against Beauchemin that warranted a double minor at the end of the period. The Ducks out-shot the Flames 9-8, also out-attempting them 18-13 at even strength.
With the four minute advantage to start the period Anaheim went to work early, as Andersen made a nice outlet pass to Maroon who sprung Perry forward for a shot that went wide. With 50 seconds remaining in the first minor Silfverberg took a shot through a Kesler screen that Ramo booted to the slot, settling nicely for Matt Beleskey who ripped it home for the second power play marker of the night putting the Ducks ahead 3-2 1:10 in.
The Flames pressure pushed around the five minute mark, as Anaheim was able to clear havoc in front of Andersen. With momentum mounting Palmieri took a hooking minor off the play against TJ Brodie that gave the hosts the man advantage, which would become a five-on-three just over a minute later when Cogliano got called for holding as he used his free hand to try and turn a player while forechecking.
56 seconds of two men up came up empty for Calgary as the Ducks were able to clear, then a wide shot did the same and the Anaheim defense made it difficult to re-establish in the offensive zone. Both penalties were killed with the Flames managing just one shot on net in the 3:04 span and attempting just four times.
Around the ten minute mark after the failed power plays the Flames ratcheted up their pressure as the Ducks dropped back in defense. Calgary's best sustained wave of pressure came against the Thompson centered third line, but Anaheim held and were able to get occasional breaks of their own.
Maroon and Getzlaf had a mini-break just inside the final five minutes that Maroon shot into the chest of Ramo. The Flames goalie gave way for an extra attacker with slightly more than two minutes to play, and while they were able to get a couple attempts with the sixth skater the equalizer was not to be found. Maroon sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 36.7 to play to ice the final scoreline 4-2 to the Ducks.
While the game was fairly balanced at even strength with the Ducks out-attempting the Flames 45-44 but the hosts getting more on net 23-19, the special teams play was the difference in the game. For the whole of the game Anaheim out shot (29-27), out-attempted (67-52), and out-chanced (32-22) Calgary, with the margin considerable for the last two.
Good: How about that Anaheim power play? After being reviled in the regular season, the unit has perked up for the playoffs and again was a key component to victory. The penalty kill was rock solid again, doing well in the two men down situation and in general significantly limiting the Flames.
Bad: Also known as 'How Gaudreau made Lindholm look on the first Calgary goal.' We also would've accepted 'The egregious pick by Stajan on Vatanen that created the second host score' too.
Ugly: Rickard Rakell, fourth line center. Just 7:00 of ice time, and only one shift in the third period. Woof.
Honorable Mention: Patrick Maroon - It was fitting that the Big Dog sealed the result with the empty netter, as his physical play along the wall in the offensive zone was stellar all night. A moment in particular stands out where without his stick he still managed to shield the puck away from a pair of Flame defenders. He was also best on the team in shot attempt differential at +6 and unblocked shot attempt differential at +7 in five on five play.
3rd MVD: Andrew Cogliano - One of the Ducks real playoff performers in recent seasons, it is an absolute joy watching his dogged determination on the forecheck as well as effort in carrying the puck in to the attack zone. His creating the turnover and finishing off the one-two with Palmieri in the second period changed the entire complexion of the game.
2nd MVD: Frederik Andersen - Though not asked to make a ton of eye-popping saves, Andersen buckled down big time after getting beat to the near post on the Flames second goal. The maturity in his game is night and day different from last postseason, where he perhaps may have gone in the tank out of self frustration following the second score. A deserved nod for tonight, but also for his cumulative performance thus far through the playoffs.
1st MVD: Jakob Silfverberg - Another excellent performance that puts him into third place alone on the team in scoring (three goals, six assists), Silfverberg was dynamic in every aspect of the game. The pretty early power play goal, his shot creating the rebound that Beleskey jumped on to score the winner, solid work on the forecheck and penalty kill, he made the most of his 19:14 time on ice.
Game Five: Sunday, May 10 at Honda Center, 7:00 PT