Calgary Flames ready for Ducks to be more physical in Game 4

Calgary Flames ready for Ducks to be more physical in Game 4
The Ducks and Flames mix it up after the whistle during Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series. (Derek Leung / Getty Images)

Greetings from Calgary, where the Ducks and Flames will play Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

It appeared that Flames Coach Bob Hartley might change his lineup to add two rugged forwards, center Lance Bouma and left wing Micheal Ferland, though Hartley wouldn't confirm anything. But it seemed like a logical counter-move for the Flames in response to the Ducks' statements the last few days about being more physical on Friday than they were in Calgary's 4-3 overtime victory on Tuesday.


The Flames think they can match or surpass the Ducks when it comes to playing a bruising style.

"That's my type of game," said Bouma, who hasn't played for the past month because of an upper body injury. "These guys battle hard and it's a playoff game. It's fun for sure."

He also said he learned some valuable lessons from the Flames' comeback victory in Game 3, which cut the Ducks' series lead to 2-1.

"Last game we were a lot better at pressuring the puck and forcing them into turnovers and forcing them to take penalties," he said of the Ducks, who took six penalties and would have been charged with a seventh if Mikael Backlund hadn’t scored the winner. "If we can do that tonight then we’ll have a good chance."

Defenseman Dennis Wideman said having two days between games instead of one could prove beneficial for the Flames’ top three defensemen, who play heavy minutes. T.J. Brodie leads them with an average ice time of 27 minutes; Wideman and Kris Russell each average 26:35.

"It's been big for us to heal up some guys and get some guys back that might be out or hurting, so it was big to have the extra day," he said.

He also said he believed that in Game 3 the Flames got as close as they've come in this series to playing the style that made them successful during the regular season.

"In the first two games we weren't really playing our game," he said. "In Game 1 we were guilty of watching them a little bit, standing around and letting them come at us. We were letting the game come to us. Game 2, we started to find it in the second half.

"You can't give [the Ducks] odd-man rushes. You've got to try to cut down the zone time as much as possible. But I think the last game we did a lot better job of getting in on the forecheck and disrupting their breakouts a little bit. With the skill that they have and the speed that they have on the blue line, if we don't get in on the forecheck they're wheeling around the net and coming out in odd-man rushes all night. So we've got to continue to do a better job on the forecheck and try and limit as many turnovers as we can."

Hartley said he hopes his team has "many more gears" and can improve on its Game 3 effort. Both teams know Friday's game could be pivotal, he said.

"Two-two, we're starting a best out of three. Down 1-3 we're right at the edge of the cliff. It's a huge difference," he said. "It's unbelievable what 60 minutes can do to the mind-set of either team. You know us, since the start of the year we never quit and we're going to be ready. At the same time I think that we understand and the Ducks certainly understand the importance of tonight's game."