NHL

Former Duck Jonas Hiller to start in goal for Flames against Anaheim

Goaltender Jonas Hiller will start Game 1 for Calgary against his former team, the Ducks

True confessions, via Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau.

What did Boudreau remember about the long break between playoff rounds — he said it was 17 days — back in his American Hockey League playing days?

"Pizza," he said.

Boudreau spent parts of three seasons, starting in the 1978-79 campaign, with the New Brunswick Hawks, the Toronto Maple Leafs minor league affiliate. He said he and his roommate had a routine during their 17-day break until the next series.

There was practice, naturally. But they had pizza, watched three hours worth of soap operas on TV and usually went to a movie at night. Those were the "days of Luke and Laura," Boudreau said of the two "soap" cult figures from the show "General Hospital."

And tomorrow's proposed topic at Ducks practice? Thin or thick crust pizza?

Translation: It's been a long time since the Ducks played a game. They finished their first-round playoff sweep Wednesday at Winnipeg, and it's going to be at least a few more days before Game 1 against Calgary — possibly Thursday or Friday in Anaheim.

Flames Coach Bob Hartley is no slouch as a storyteller either, informing Calgary reporters Monday about the neighborhood priest who wore a Flames jersey before Mass.

He also told reporters that Jonas Hiller, the former Ducks goalie, will get the start for the Flames in Game 1.

So … some real news.

"Hillie deserves to start," Boudreau said Monday of his former goalie. "He played great the whole first round of the playoffs [against Vancouver]. And we know he can be great.

"I've gotta believe he wants to beat us pretty badly. Just like most guys that want to beat the other team when they're traded from one team or not signed, or whatever, their former team."

Said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf: "There's no thoughts about it. Just an opponent on the other side that is a great goaltender and we've got to get to him."

The last time the Ducks and Flames met in the postseason was in the first round in 2006, with the Ducks winning in seven games. It also happened to be the playoff debut for three current Ducks, linemates Getzlaf and Corey Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

Those were the formative playoff experiences for the young Ducks. They lost in the Western Conference finals that year but won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

Beauchemin had been the inspirational figure who helped turn Game 6 in the Ducks' favor, winning a fight against then Flames captain Jarome Iginla with a surprising left punch.

"It was my first year and not many guys knew," Beauchemin said. "Sometimes you can catch guys by surprise with that and I did that time. We were down, 3-2, in the series and I had nothing to lose.

"Obviously, he was their captain, their leader, their best player so it was good for our team."

Iginla is no longer with Calgary. Since leaving the Flames in 2013, he has played for Pittsburgh, Boston and Colorado.

Beauchemin and the Ducks will have other fresh challenges. The Flames are smaller than the Jets but faster, and their defense corps is extremely active.

"We want to play the same game as [against] Winnipeg," Beauchemin said. "We want to still be physical on them. Their D [defense] are really similar. They like to jump up on the offense like [Jacob] Trouba, [Dustin] Byfuglien [of the Jets] and [Tyler] Myers were doing.

"We've just got to be aware of that and make sure we play strong in our D zone and try to capitalize off their offensive plays and maybe get some odd-man rushes against them."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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