The Calgary Flames, following two subpar performances in games one and two of their second round series against the Anaheim Ducks, are in a world of trouble. The Flames, down 0-2 in the series, will host the Ducks from downtown Calgary on Tuesday night. Calgary are in desperate need of a win if they are going to give themselves a serious chance of advancing in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
Calgary enter game three knowing that they were drastically outscored in games one and two combined. In game one, Anaheim blew out the Flames 6-1, scoring a pair of goals in every period. Game two was not as lopsided as Anaheim only defeated Calgary 3-0 however the two-game total sees Anaheim ahead 9-1 as the series shifts to Alberta, Canada.
Corey Perry of Anaheim, even as the series moves away from California, promises to remain a major thorn in Calgary’s side. Through six games this post-season his Ducks remain undefeated and that is in no small part due to Perry scoring better than two points per game. Heading into game three against Calgary, Perry has five goals in the post-season and eight assists. That includes two assists in the game two win against Calgary and two goals and two assists in game one.
But Perry, as an offensive juggernaut, is just one problem that Calgary has to solve. There’s the matter of the brick wall between the pipes for Anaheim too.
Frederik Andersen, a 25-year old from Denmark, is enjoying a stellar post-season behind his teammates. Andersen’s save percentage of .942 is well above his career regular season average. The Ducks, building off of both a shutout from their netminder and stellar offensive play from Perry, should not have much trouble competing well in games three and four in Calgary.
While Flames will no doubt have a legion of fans going crazy for them, under similar circumstances Anaheim remained unphased earlier in the playoffs. Calgary’s Saddledome, for game three, won’t be any more or less crazy than the scene in Winnipeg in April, when the Ducks travelled there for game three of their first round series. While it’s true that Winnipeg played Anaheim tight in game three, in the end the game ended in the Ducks’ favor.
Calgary are a bit better than Winnipeg so the parallel is a bit faulty. However with Perry playing fantastic, with Andersen repelling nearly everything, and with previous recent experience winning in a hostile hockey madhouse I think the Ducks will take at least a split away from Alberta. If so, then that would set up a game five situation where Calgary would have to buck a trend of losing in Anaheim that’s been active since before Sam Bennett’s voice changed.
As always, analysis will defer to actual gameplay. Game three from cow-town will start at 9:30pm ET on Tuesday night (7:30pm local).