5 Reasons Why The Flames Will Lose To The Ducks

Because I wrote this kind of article about the Canucks and the Flames won (and it made people mad), we figured I had to do the same thing about the Ducks in round 2. 

The first round match up with Vancouver was the most favourable one the Flames could hope for in the entire Western Conference. Though the Canucks were nominally a better team than Calgary in the regular season, they were definitely the weakest off all the cup contenders that made the post-season. 

The Ducks are a much stiffer test. Theyir core players are younger, they have better depth and they made moves at the deadline that made them even better. Oh and that come from behind thing that the Flames made a habit of this year? The Ducks were the only team in the league to do it more often. 

So, without further adieu, here’s 5 reasons the Flames will lose to the Ducks in round 2:

1. The Flames can’t win in Anaheim

If you don’t have home ice advantage in the playoffs it means you have to win in the other team’s barn in order to advance. That’s something the Flames haven’t done in Anaheim in the their last 20 tries. That’s a stretch that goes back almost to the Roman Turek days. 

Obviously the failures of long past regimes doesn’t reflect on the current troupe. Still, a lot of the guys who will be in the lineup this series haven’t yet tasted victory in Anaheim either. 

2. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf

Versus Vancouver the Flames had to worry about the Sedin twins. They’re still very good at 34 years old, but they aren’t Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Perry has been one of the most prolific goal scorers in the NHL over the last 5 seasons, while Getzlaf has operated at point per game pace over the same period. The duo is one of the toughest to play against at even strength and they can kill you on the PP as well. 

That long dry spell we talked about above? Part of the reason it’s been so hard to win in Anaheim for so long is Calgary has had a lot of trouble containing Perry and Getzlaf when they don’t have last change. 

3. Excellent Forward Depth

Calgary’s depth players generally played as well or better than their counter parts in round 1. That’s going to be a much tall order in round versus the likes of Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg and the sneaky good Rickard Rakell facing them.

The Ducks also have a strong blueline, with Cam Fowler, Francois Beachemin, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatenen and Simon Despres (who they got for Ben LoveJoy at the deadline!) rounding out most of the minutes. Look out for the relatively unheralded Vantenan, who led their blueline in scoring during the regular season with 37 points and had 5 points in their sweep over the Jets.  

It was relatively easy to get Calgary’s top line away from trouble vs the Canucks. That is going to be a much tougher task for Bob Hartley this time around. 

4. The Ducks are even clutch-ier than the Flames

Anaheim won the West with just a +10 goal differential. For context, the Rangers won the East with a +60 goal differential. So how did they do that? A ton of one-goal victories and come from behind wins. No team in the league had a better winning percentage in 1-goal duels this year than the Ducks (80.5%) and no team won more when trailing heading into the third period (12 times). Not to mention three more times in the first round against the Jets.

If you consider clutch play in close games to be a skill or talent, then the Flames are the apprentice and the Ducks are the master. 

5. Tim Jackman’s Revenge!

Remember Tim Jackman? The loveable everyman who was willing to hit, fight and score (well…not score so much). Before the Flames had Bouma and Ferland, there was Jackman. Perhaps miscast as a heavyweight, he was really just an affable checker willing to do just about anything to stay in the lineup. 

Jackman gave the Flames a few  serviceable years on the fourth line. He even scored a career high 10 goals and 23 points in 2010-11. That’s world class production from the bottom of the rotation!

That was his high water mark, however. Calgary traded Jackman to the Ducks for a sixth round pick in 2013-14 when it was clear Hartley didn’t have much use for him. It kinda seemed like his career was over after multiple healthy scratches, but Jackman has nevertheless stuck around the Ducks lineup, appearing in 55 games this season. 

The Flames did Jackman a solid by moving him a couple of years ago and I’m sure there’s no bad blood between the two parties at all. But for the purposes of this article let’s say he still carries a grudge and is out for blood! 

  • Scary Gary

    I believe the Flames are 0 – 15 – 5 in the last 20 regular season games at the pond but they’re only 0 – 2 since their last playoff win there. So that’s something right?

  • Scary Gary

    I just keep telling myself that we’re due for a win at the pond… any day now.

    But anything could happen.. including an injury to Perry or Getzlaf..muwahhahahah!

  • Byron Bader

    Reaching with that 5th point! Brings my confidence in this series up 10 notches. If Tim Jackman is in any way a difference maker the Ducks desperately need … they’re already dead!

    • beloch

      Brent Sutter had some success playing “park the wookie” with Jackman. i.e. Jackman goes to the crease and stays there to screen, with any actual tip-ins being a complete fluke. He was primarily there to screen, which worked even better if a defender got into a shoving match with him. To Jackman’s credit, he was pretty hard to push out of the crease.

      In general the Ducks are going to be harder to keep outside of the slot than the Canucks were.

  • MonsterPod

    Only 5?

    I can come up with five more, but I have to hope the Flames players are less terrified than I am.

    I’ll be there for game one. Upper bowl, aisle seat, blue line, 100 bucks. Not bad at all.

    Never seen a Flames playoff game in an enemy barn before. At this point, it’s all gravy. This is what we wait all year for. It’ll be fun.

    GFG

    • MonsterPod

      Whew, what a garbage blog. That is one ugly website.

      Format, font, contrast — one of the worst I’ve seen.

      Oh, and the content is even worse.

      “Flames Nothing More Than a Cute Story”

      Who in hockey even headlines like that? Cute? Barf.

      Nobody with a shred of relevance in the hockey world would suggest something so flippant about any team in the final 8.

      And the best part: what the heck is a ‘sunset rising’? Is that like a frown smiling? Bugger off…

      GFG

      • beloch

        Yeah website design aside, the author concludes that the flames have a nice team and need to ensure they continue rebuilding. I think that ya didnt read it, but thats my opinion. I agree with this opinion.

        G Flames

    • beloch

      That article has a real troll/click-bait title, but the content isn’t totally off base. There are some problems with it though.

      So how did the Flames make the playoffs then? A combination of factors lead them on this improbable run. One was their extremely high team shooting percentage, at a mark of 11.1%. To take that into context, the league average team shooting percentage was 8.9%. Although there’s definitely variation in team shooting percentages given that some teams are obviously better and have better players, but history has shown the number to always follow around the league average for each team, with a margin of error of around 1% which would still be much lower than how much the Flames shooting percentage is at.

      As I pointed out earlier in the season, the Flames shooting percentage is almost bang on the league average if you take away the Monahan line. The Monahan line alone has goosed it sky high. Hudler has a high career sh% and there’s every indication that Gaudreau and Monahan can also sustain high shooting percentages as well, based on the fact that they like to shoot from deadly areas of the ice. They’ll likely spend a lot more time together next season than they did this season, so it’s very reasonable to expect they will continue to rack up goals and keep the Flames’ sh% above league average.

      Secondly, the Flames received top-notch goaltending throughout the season, from Jonas Hiller. He delivered a .918 SV%’s throughout the regular season, above the standard for a good goalie within a season). Although all three goalies they played this season have proven this season to be pretty good, have their careers shown that? For both Hiller and Ramo, their career save percentages are at .914 and .905, respectively. Those marks are much lower than what they achieved this season, and although goalies improve all the time, it’s unlikely they can keep their save percentages that much higher like they did this season,

      The Flames goalie squad combined delivered a season sv% that was 13th in the league at even strength and 15th in all situations. That’s remarkably average and not “top-notch”.

      Ramo did improve on his career average, but his career includes just one previous season (plus change that’s ancient history) in which he lost a lot of ground early on while transitioning to the North American game. His performance this season is likely closer to what his career average will eventually be.

      Hiller’s regular season career average sv% is 0.917, and his regular season sv% this year was 0.918. Hiller’s playoff performance has been well above his regular season average, but his performance this season is almost identical to his career playoff sv%. Yeah, that’s totally unsustainable. Hiller has got to crater next season!

      One of these two is likely going to go and the new backup will be Ortio who will, no doubt, have a raging inferno lit under his privates by Gillies. The Flames are likely to have league average goal-tending for a while, but there’s a possibility it could get even better. A lot better.

      Success in any fashion for sure benefits a young team like the Flames, but the problem is in realizing what that success really is. What Flames General Manager Brad Treliving needs to see is that he has a young team that simply over-achieved this year, and one that he needs to improve in the long-run so the Flames can actually be successful in the future.

      So far, Treliving has not made any moves that are overtly unfriendly to the future. The Flames were in striking distance of the playoffs at the trade deadline. Treliving could have declared the rebuild over and rented some talent to ensure the Flames made it to the post-season. Instead, he unloaded Glencross, a pending UFA who likely would have walked this summer. That showed a commitment to the future at the expense of the present, which clearly indicates Treliving believes the rebuild is far from over. Every interview I’ve heard from him backs this up, but the fact that his actions back those words up is very encouraging.

      This article is correct in pointing out that the Flames possession stats are terrible and this team really needs to take steps to improve them. The author is very right to point out that NHL wins are highly correlated with good possession stats. However, the case can be made that the Flames’ focus on shot quality over quantity makes their possession stats a little misleading. The Oilers, for example, have much better possession stats but their shot quality is far lower. I personally feel that possession stats that take shot quality into account are not well sorted out yet (there are some attempts, like Xdiff), but will likely gain dominance over corsi and fenwick in the near future. This season’s Flames likely won’t look quite as bad with these metrics, but they still have a very long way to go.

      The Flames need to make key acquisitions, especially to round out their blue-line. However, the Flames also have a tremendous amount of talent in their prospect system that will likely improve the team year-over-year for several years to come. Last year, hockeysfuture rated the Flames farm system second in the league, behind only Buffalo (who will need every last drop!). Based solely on the post-season so far, Bennett and Ferland promise to be big additions to the roster next season, but they are unlikely to be the only new players to contribute at the NHL level next season.

      The Flames will undeniably look better on paper next season. Their key players are currently young and will be a year closer to peak next season. The Monahan line will likely spend the whole season together. New talent from the farm will arrive in the NHL, and Treliving has a lot of cap space to work with this summer. Will the Flames make the post-season and pass the first round again though? Given that just 8 teams can do that, the Flames might not be among them. Random chance still plays a big role in hockey. All we can hope for is that the team gets stronger, whether chance favors them or not.

  • Soupy19

    Man, the Ducks healthy scratched Wisniewski for all 4 of their playoff games. Talk about being spoiled on defensive depth. Meanwhile, we are essentially rolling 4 Dmen.

  • Soupy19

    I don’t think people were angry with your prediction Kent. I think they just had the foresight to see the inevitable. Does it get any more boring writing another article choosing the favourite and listing the reasons why the favourite should win the series? Calgary should have beat the Canucks and did. Organizational toughness and TJ Scott Neidermeyer was the difference in the last series, this time around… well… god I miss Giordano.

  • Soupy19

    I understand we haven’t won in Anaheim in the regular season in 20 games, but this is the playoffs, and we won 1/3 the last series we played there. So technically, we haven’t won in Anaheim in 9 years, not 12… eep, let’s break the curse now!