Ducks-Flames matchup in NHL playoffs could leave third-degree burns

Ducks and their second-round playoff opponent, Calgary, have specialized in third-period comebacks this season

Third-period comeback clones.

Anaheim Ducks . . . meet the Calgary Flames.

That's exactly what will be happening in the second round of the playoffs as the teams will open a Western Conference semifinal series later this week in Anaheim.

The Ducks staged third-period comebacks in the first three games of their opening-round series against Winnipeg and went on to sweep the Jets.

Calgary won a playoff series for the first time in 11 years by scoring four third-period goals against Vancouver in Game 6 on Saturday night, beating the Canucks, 7-4, in Calgary.

Those third-period comebacks were front and center for both teams during the regular season. The Flames won 10 games when trailing after two periods. The Ducks established an NHL record by winning 18 games in which they were behind at some point in the third period.

"They've been doing it all year," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Flames on a conference call Sunday morning. "They're a team that never quits. The minute you think that you've got them, they know how to apply an awful lot of pressure.

"The first time we played them in there this year, we had a 2-0 lead going into the third and they ended up scoring three quick goals. We ended up tying it up but losing in a shootout.

"We all watch their games and we read about them and we know their capabilities. We know the fact that they never quit. It's going to be a 60-minute game on both sides, all the time."

The league has not announced when the Ducks-Flames series will start but it could open Thursday or Friday in Anaheim. One thing is clear: there won't be a game at Honda Center on Saturday because of a conflict with the New Kids on the Block concert.

There are several threads running between Calgary and Anaheim. In fact, Brian Burke, the Flames' president of hockey operations, was the Ducks' executive vice president and GM when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

That is more of a side note, however. Among the links between the teams, the focal point is expected to be Flames goalie Jonas Hiller, who spent seven years in Anaheim, and said during the season that he didn't feel "that trust" late in his Ducks tenure, or support from Boudreau.

"You want nothing more to beat that team and prove to them they made a mistake not re-signing you," Hiller told reporters in Calgary after Game 6. "They definitely have some skills, some size. They play pretty consistent to their system. There was a reason they were first in the conference.

"I think with our speed, we have a chance. We've gotta be ready to play even better than the Vancouver series."

Still, it's not a foregone conclusion Hiller will start Game 1 against his old teammates. Calgary Coach Bob Hartley pulled Hiller in the first period for Karri Ramo to jump-start the Flames in Game 6.

"We'll game plan for both of them, for sure," Boudreau said. "I don't know who could tell whether you are going to see one or two or both. Quite frankly, if you see both, it's a good thing for you because it means the other one hasn't played that well in that game."

Hiller's familiarity with the Ducks doesn't mean a distinct edge, Boudreau said.

"I think it's an even split. He's seen all of our shooters every day and knows their tendencies and we've seen his tendencies," Boudreau said. "I don't think anybody has an advantage on that."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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