ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jakob Silfverberg scored the tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the Anaheim Ducks’ 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in their first-round playoff series opener Thursday night.
Rickard Rakell scored the tying goal after Calgary made a horrendous line change in the second period, and John Gibson made 30 saves as the Ducks avoided a slow start to their latest Stanley Cup playoff campaign.
Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett scored and Brian Elliott stopped 38 shots for the wild-card Flames. Calgary is winless in Anaheim since April 25, 2006, when the Flames won a playoff game in a series won by the Ducks.
Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center.
With their fans’ chants of “You can’t win here!” echoing down from the rafters, the Ducks kept up their improbable home mastery of the Flames despite falling behind in the second period.
Getzlaf was dominant while he became the first Ducks player to score 100 playoff points. He capped his night with an enormous third-period check on Calgary captain Mark Giordano, who is reviled in Anaheim after injuring All-Star defenseman Cam Fowler with a knee-on-knee hit last week.
Anaheim capped the win by killing two Flames power plays, including a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:17 in the waning minutes. Gibson was shaky at times, but he denied Johnny Gaudreau in the crease with 18 seconds to play.
With Calgary’s loss, the NHL’s Canadian teams fell to 0-5 in their playoff openers this season.
The Ducks have won five straight Pacific Division titles, but their postseason failures in recent years led to coach Bruce Boudreau’s firing last spring and the return of Randy Carlyle, who led Anaheim to its only championship a decade ago. The Ducks haven’t reached the Stanley Cup Final since, and they’ve won just three playoff rounds during the past four seasons – including an embarrassing first-round loss to Nashville last season.
The Ducks lost the first two games at home to the Predators, who eventually won in seven games. A slow start wasn’t a problem against the Flames, however: The raucous Orange County crowd hadn’t even settled in its seats before Getzlaf wired a one-timer through traffic for his 30th career playoff goal.
Calgary evened it on a power-play redirect by Monahan, the top-line forward who scored 58 points and didn’t miss a game during the regular season.
Bennett put the Flames ahead with a slick shot off Kris Versteeg’s slick backhand pass in front. Before Honda Center or the Ducks could get too tense, Rakell evened it on a rebound of Getzlaf’s shot after Calgary gave up a 3-on-0 rush with its confused line change.
Silfverberg then put a beautiful wrist shot through traffic to reclaim the lead.
The Ducks expect to be without Fowler for at least the next few games after the hit by Giordano, who wasn’t penalized or further disciplined by the NHL. Giordano was booed every time he touched the puck.
NOTES: Ducks D Shea Theodore got the first two playoff points of his career with power-play assists. … Calgary’s Glen Gulutzan coached his first NHL playoff game, and rookie F Matthew Tkachuk made his playoff debut. … Anaheim D Brandon Montour and F Ondrej Kase made their Stanley Cup playoff debuts. … Ducks F Nick Ritchie completed his two-game suspension for punching Chicago’s Michael Rozsival last week. The power forward will be eligible to make his NHL playoff debut in Game 2.