ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A first-round sweep opens the door for some welcome news for the Ducks: A bit of rest and maybe some help on the bench.
Defenseman Sami Vatanen (upper body) and Cam Fowler (knee) could return at some point soon for Anaheim, which hasn’t lost in regulation in 18 games dating to March 10 and beat Calgary in four games to open the playoffs. While 21-year-old Shea Theodore and 23-year-old Brandon Montour performed well, depth on the blue line will be important going forward.
For now, Anaheim can await its next opponent after Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, veterans from the Stanley Cup-winning team in 2007 and Olympic gold medalists, steered the Ducks through choppy waters.
Getzlaf had three goals and two assists in four games. Perry scored the overtime winner in Game 3 and Anaheim completed the sweep Wednesday night by scoring twice in the first 6:46 on the way to a 3-1 win.
“We’ve been in some games where we’ve been able to experience those moments when there’s high pressure,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. “When you have your leaders as guys who have played World Cups, Olympics, Stanley Cup games, it helps. Those guys have been there, they’ve experienced it and they know what to do in those situations. The team followed suit.”
Anaheim outscored Calgary 9-2 at even strength and held Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau without a goal.
“Any time you can put a team behind you, you definitely want to take advantage of it,” Getzlaf said.
The Flames outplayed the Ducks the majority of Game 2, but a deflection and a couple of undisciplined penalties by Calgary late in the game allowed the Ducks to pull out the win. And trailing 4-1 late in the second period of Game 3, the Ducks score four unanswered goals in their biggest comeback in franchise history.
The Ducks now have the luxury of rest and recovery ahead of their conference semifinal against either Edmonton or San Jose.
“We move onto the next one and we know that it’s only going to get tougher,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
Carlyle started John Gibson again in the clincher at Calgary after replacing him in the second period of Game 3 with Jonathan Bernier. Gibson had 36 saves in the win.