Ducks try to eliminate Flames in Game 5
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will get their first chance at eliminating the Calgary Flames on Sunday when they host Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Honda Center.
Anaheim, the top seed in the West, had won six straight games to begin the playoffs, sweeping Winnipeg in the opening round and taking a 2-0 lead in this series. The streak ended with a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3, but the Ducks rebounded to take Friday's meeting in Calgary by a 4-2 count, preventing the Flames from tying the series at two games apiece.
A win tonight would allow the Ducks to punch their first ticket to the conference finals since the franchise won its lone Stanley Cup title in 2007. Of course, the Flames are hoping to stay alive and push this best-of-seven set to Game 6, which would take place Tuesday in Calgary.
Calgary, however, will have to halt an epic losing streak in Orange County to keep its season alive. Including the regular season and playoffs, the Ducks have won 21 straight home games against the Flames and Anaheim is off to a 4-0 start at home in this postseason.
Anaheim opened the scoring in Game 4 when Jakob Silfverberg tallied on the power play at 3:58 of the first period. The lead didn't last long as Sean Monahan answered for Calgary just 39 seconds later and Micheal Ferland put the Flames ahead 2-1 at the 5:44 mark.
The only offense the rest of the way would come from the Ducks, who evened the score on Andrew Cogliano's marker late in the second period before Matt Beleskey tallied the game-winner just 71 seconds into the final stanza. Patrick Maroon added an empty-net goal in the final minute to seal the win.
Beleskey has scored a goal in all four games of this series after going without a marker in the opening round. His fourth score of the playoffs came after Calgary center Joe Colborne picked up a double-minor for an ill-advised high-sticking penalty on Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin at the end of the second period. Beleskey buried a rebound from the slot past Karri Ramo and the power-play tally made it a 3-2 game.
"He's big and he's strong, so a lot of times he doesn't get moved out of that spot. He was in a perfect spot today," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said about Beleskey.
Beleskey became the second Ducks player to score in the first four games of a playoff series. Franchise icon Teemu Selanne accomplished the feat against the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs
Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the Ducks, while Ramo stopped 25 shots in Calgary's first home loss this postseason.
The Flames lost Friday's game despite having Ferland and Lance Bouma back in the lineup. Ferland had sat out two straight games with an upper-body injury, while Bouma was playing for the first time since April 7. Bouma injured his hand while blocking a shot in Calgary's 80th game of the regular season.
"Micheal Ferland and Lance Bouma really helped us," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "I thought that we brought some size in the lineup. We had a good forechecking game."
Flames defenseman Mark Giordano has been practicing with the club, but it's unlikely he will play in this series. Calgary's top blueliner hasn't played since suffering a torn biceps on Feb. 25.
This is the second postseason encounter between the Ducks and Flames. The only other playoff meeting was in 2006 when Anaheim ousted Calgary from the first round in seven games.