At one point in the first period Thursday, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry passed the puck to one another as if they had the rubber disc on a three-way string, playing an impressive game of keep-away that dazed the Calgary Flames into flat-footed submission — and not for the first time. Or the last.
The trio's dominance on that shift led to Getzlaf sending a backhand pass to Maroon for the Ducks' second goal in a stunningly relentless 6-1 rout of the Flames in the opener of their second-round playoff series. Perry, starting the series with a bang on the scoresheet and in the corners, tied a club playoff record with a four-point effort, on two goals and two assists. Getzlaf also recorded four points, on one goal and three assists.
"Those are shifts where it feels good, when we're doing the right things," Getzlaf said. "If we're in the right position we're putting the puck where we can get it back. It's a lot easier for our game plan."
Getzlaf, like his teammates, insisted this wasn't a statement game, that it was just one win and that the Flames are a great hockey team and surely will rebound in Game 2, at Honda Center on Sunday. Those were the right things to say, but they were being polite.
This clearly was a statement from Perry and Getzlaf, and it repeated the proclamation the duo issued in Perry's four-point game against Winnipeg in the opener of what became a first-round sweep.
"With those two going, they're unstoppable. When they're on their 'A' game, I don't think anyone can stop those two," Maroon said. "I just feel like I'm just out there sometimes, but that's the nature of the game. Those two are so good, defensively and offensively, when they're on their game no one can stop them."
The Flames certainly couldn't. Perry is the top scorer in the playoffs with five goals and 11 points; Getzlaf ranks third, with two goals and eight points.
The Ducks, showing no signs of rust after an eight-day rest since they finished their sweep of the Jets, were sharp and persistent from the start Thursday. Their resolve meant that the Flames, renowned for their resilience this season and through their first-round playoff victory over Vancouver, were powerless to keep the Ducks from operating around the net and gave goaltender Jonas Hiller precious little help.
Matt Beleskey's first goal since March 24, a rebound off a backhand pass from Kyle Palmieri, got things rolling at 10:17 of the first period. Maroon's conversion on the pass from Getzlaf made it 2-0 before the period ended.
"He got great position," Getzlaf said. "When he's going to the net I can see him."
Hiller, the former Ducks goalie, was pulled after Perry came from behind the net and toward the left post for a quick shot that found its way into the net at 2:13 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. After that indignity, Hiller immediately headed to the locker room. Some of his teammates surely wished they could have joined him.
"I thought the guys came out and played well in the first period," Perry said. "It could've gone either way but we got that goal to get us going. It definitely paid off."
This was a commanding performance in every aspect, and if it dented the Flames' confidence it also cost them physically. Forward Michael Ferland suffered an apparent head injury in the first period and didn't return, and leading scorer Jiri Hudler played only three shifts in the second period before he, too, was held out. Flames Coach Bob Hartley said he kept rookie Johnny Gaudreau on the bench for the third period because the Ducks were "taking too many liberties," with the youngster, but the Flames dished out as many hard hits as they took.
The telling blows were delivered by Getzlaf, Perry and Maroon, leading a dominant performance. "Getzlaf makes things happen. Corey's a real good finisher," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Boudreau was careful to be respectful toward the Flames, and his players followed his lead. Asked how the Ducks took advantage of the matchups Thursday, Getzlaf shook his head in exasperation.
"Honestly, I don't know how the matchups went," he said. "It was one of those games where we just played. We went out and executed.
"They're going to rebound and play great next game. We just have to keep on doing what we're doing."
If Getzlaf and Perry keep doing what they did Thursday, the Flames will be hard-pressed to respond.