Silencing any questions about whether they had gathered rust during the eight days since they last played, the Anaheim Ducks routed the Calgary Flames, 6-1, on Thursday night at Honda Center in a stunning opener to the teams’ second-round playoff series.
Corey Perry collected two goals and two assists to tie a club playoff record for points in a game -- a mark he had previously matched in the first game of the Ducks’ first-round sweep of Winnipeg. The Ducks dominated from start to finish, chasing goaltender Jonas Hiller -- formerly one of their own -- in the second period after they built a 3-0 lead. Ryan Getzlaf also tied the record by recording four points, on a goal and three assists.
Game 2 will be played Sunday at Honda Center.
Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen gave up only a third-period goal to Calgary rookie Sam Bennett following a defensive mistake by the Ducks.
Whatever hopes the Flames might have had about staging a rally were quashed 44 seconds into the third period, when Corey Perry found space on the short side to score a power-play goal and put the Ducks ahead, 5-0.
Although the second period was the Ducks’ worst during the season, they played an impressive second period on Thursday and dominated the battered Flames.
Calgary lost forward Michael Ferland to an undisclosed injury in the first period and played most of the second period without leading scorer Jiri Hudler. There was no immediate word on Hudler’s status.
The Flames have become famous for their late comebacks, but they faced the prospect of having to top all of those comebacks in order to make this game close and overcome the 4-0 lead the Ducks held after 40 minutes.
Long Beach native Emerson Etem extended the Ducks’ lead to 4-0 at 10:11 of the second period.
Nate Thompson controlled the puck down low and passed it back to Hampus Lindholm, who made a cross-ice pass to defense partner Francois Beauchemin.
A booming shot by Beauchemin was stopped by replacement goalie Karri Ramo, but the rebound came to the slot and Etem -- who had outmuscled at least one defender to establish position -- converted that chance for his second goal of this postseason.
Corey Perry padded the Ducks’ lead to 3-0 at 2:13 of the second period, taking the puck from behind the net and cutting into the slot without being checked.
His shot was the last faced by Jonas Hiller, who was pulled and replaced by Karri Ramo.
Perry’s goal came on the Ducks’ 14th shot.
Ducks 2, Flames 0 (end of first period)
The Ducks took that 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
They also had a lead in shots, 12-8, and in hits, 12-10.
The Ducks also got the better of the Flames on faceoffs by going 16-9, led by Ryan Kesler’s 7-3 mark.
A dominant shift by the line of Patrick Maroon, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry led to the Ducks’ second goal, at 13:11.
The trio played keepaway in the Flames’ zone, passing the puck to one another while the Flames grew increasingly frustrated. Getzlaf eventually sliced a backhand pass toward the slot. Maroon, stationed by the left post, had an easy chance and gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
After a sequence in which each team sent a player to the penalty box, the Ducks scored while the teams were five on five.
Hampus Lindholm’s first attempted shot was blocked, but the puck came back to him and he shot it off the end boards. Kyle Palmieri pounced on the carom and neatly backhanded a pass to Matt Beleskey, who had been held scoreless in the first round but didn’t miss this close-in chance.
The goal, at 10:17 of the first period, inspired fans to happily twirl the orange towels that had been left on each seat.
Both goaltenders had to be alert in the early going.
The Flames ended up with a breakaway when Jakob Silfverberg fell at the offensive blue line and Josh Jooris skated in alone on Andersen, but the Ducks’ goalie was up to the task and made the save at 2:05.
Less than a minute later, it was Jonas Hiller’s turn to shine, as he stopped a point-blank shot by Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey.
The Flames had the game’s first power play, after Corey Perry was sent off for cross-checking at 4:22, but they weren’t able to get any shots on goal.
Greetings from Honda Center, the site of Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal playoff series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames.
The Flames haven’t had much success here over the years: they’re 0-15-5 in regular-season play since Jan. 19, 2004, and they’ve won one of three playoff games they’ve played in Anaheim, on April 25, 2006. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin are the only current players on either team who participated in that 2006 conference quarterfinal series.
Much has been made of the resilience and comeback abilities of both the Flames and the Ducks, and deservedly so. They’ve both proved that third-period leads, which used to be sacred in the NHL, are no longer guarantees of a victory.
“It’s going to be great for TV ratings because no one’s going to leave,” Flames Coach Bob Hartley joked after his team’s morning skate Thursday.
Calgary rookie left wing Johnny Gaudreau, one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year, said his team is less concerned with what the Ducks might do than with what they must do.
“We’ve got to worry about ourselves right now, at this point,” he said. “We’re expecting a lot of things. It’s going to be exciting.”
He also said he was “a little bit more nervous and excited” before the Flames’ playoff opener against Vancouver than he was for the start of this second-round series, simply because he now has a better idea of how intense and physical playoff hockey can be. “A little bit of the nerves are out. It’s just another series now,” he said.
Calgary goaltender Jonas Hiller, the former Duck who left Anaheim as a free agent last summer, said he enjoyed visiting his old haunts here but, he said, “Memories come back, but at the same time, once you’re in this dressing room you realize that you’re on the other team."
He also said there’s been so much turnover on the Ducks’ roster that he might not have much of an edge in terms of knowing shooters’ habits. “They know my tendency. I know theirs. I don’t know if it’s going to be an advantage or not,” he said. “I think it’s different but during the game, it normally goes that quick that you don’t have time to think, ‘Oh, what’s this guy going to do?’ You just react.
“I definitely know they have a really good team. They have lots of skills, lots of scoring power, and we have to play at our best to have a chance.”
The Ducks were expected to make one change in the lineup they used in the last two games of their first-round sweep of Winnipeg. Center Nate Thompson, who missed the entire first round because of an upper-body injury, was poised to return to the lineup. Tomas Fleischmann, who played capably in his absence, reverted to being a healthy scratch.