Bob Hartley declined to risk putting talented yet diminutive rookie Johnny Gaudreau on the ice for the third period of Game 1 with the Calgary Flames getting pummeled by the Anaheim Ducks in more ways than one.
Corey Perry beat up the Flames on the scoreboard and with his physical play. If Calgary can’t figure out a way to stop him, it might be more of the same in Game 2 on Sunday night.
Perry had two goals and two assists in Thursday’s 6-1 victory, giving him an NHL-best 11 postseason points. He becomes the first player with two four-point games in the playoffs since Philadelphia’s Keith Primeau in 2004.
"You can see it on Corey Perry’s face, how much he wants to score and how much he wants to be the guy that does the damage," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That’s probably why he gets into a lot of trouble with other players more than other guys. He can be an antagonizer and an instigator as well as a great player."
That’s part of the reason the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Gaudreau observed the final 20 minutes from the bench. He wasn’t happy with the decision, but Hartley simply was trying to protect one his top contributors.
Gaudreau, a finalist for the Calder Trophy after scoring 24 goals and adding 40 assists in the regular season, scored twice and had four assists in Calgary’s six-game win over Vancouver. He played 14 1/2 minutes Thursday despite forwards Jiri Hudler and Micheal Ferland leaving early with undisclosed injuries.
Both are questionable for Game 2.
"Johnny wants to be on the ice, but my job as head coach of the Calgary Flames is to do what’s best for the organization in those times, and what was best was to keep him on the bench," Hartley said. "He’s a big-time player for us."
The Flames haven’t won at Honda Center since Game 3 of their 2006 first-round series against the Ducks, dropping 20 straight there. Jonas Hiller won 100 regular-season and playoff games in Anaheim as the club’s goaltender for seven seasons before signing a two-year, $9 million deal with Calgary in the offseason.
But Hiller allowed three goals on 14 shots before being pulled early in the second period Thursday. Hartley also yanked Hiller after he gave up two goals on three shots in Game 6 against the Canucks.
Karri Ramo stopped 18 of 21 shots after entering in Game 1, and Hartley will give Ramo his first career playoff start in this contest. He’s 2-1-0 with a 3.20 goals-against average in three starts and two relief appearances against the Ducks.
He last started when he suffered a lower-body injury 58 seconds into the Flames’ 4-0 win over Edmonton on April 4.
"It’s a great challenge for me," Ramo said. "It’s definitely easier, always, to start than (to enter in the) middle of the game. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, so I’m sure I’m ready."
Anaheim doesn’t care who’s in net for the Flames. It has scored 22 goals while going 5-0 in the playoffs with 11 different players scoring. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and three assists in Game 1, giving him five goals and four assists during a four-game point streak against Calgary.
Frederik Andersen has a 1.97 GAA in the playoffs and lost his bid for his first career playoff shutout when Sam Bennett scored halfway through the third in Game 1.