Let’s Talk About Match-Ups

The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins tonight, as the Calgary Flames trek to Disneyland to face the Anaheim Ducks.

Like with the series between Calgary and Vancouver, the second round pairing will likely be decided by which team can find effective match-ups against the other team, and then exploit those match-ups. (Calgary was particularly good at this at home.)

Here’s a quick glance at what kind of match-ups each side may be looking to get this round.


Here’s face-off figures from the five head-to-head games. Percentages are included, and it gives you an idea of how each player was used in relation to the other team’s key players.

Sean Monahan: 43.3% in first round

  • 21-for-42 (50.0%) vs. Getzlaf
  • 25-for-49 (51.0%) vs. Kesler
  • 2-for-11 (18.1%) vs. Rakell
  • 9-for-16 (56.3%) vs. Thompson

Mikael Backlund: 47.6% in first round

  • 17-for-26 (65.4%) vs. Getzlaf
  • 7-for-15 (46.7%) vs. Kesler
  • 3-for-3 (100%) vs. Rakell
  • 2-for-7 (28.6%) vs. Thompson

Matt Stajan: 61.0% in first round

  • 2-for-2 (100%) vs. Getzlaf
  • 2-for-4 (50%) vs. Kesler
  • 3-for-3 (100%) vs. Rakell
  • 3-for-12 (25%) vs. Thompson

Josh Jooris: 53.3% in first round

  • 3-for-8 (37.5%) vs. Getzlaf
  • 4-for-15 (26.7%) vs. Kesler
  • 7-for-8 (87.5%) vs. Rakell
  • 5-for-11 (45.4%) vs. Thompson


    If I’m Anaheim, I target these match-ups: Kesler’s line against Backlund’s line, Getzlaf’s line against Monahan’s line, Thompson’s line against Stajan’s line and Rakell’s line against the Jooris trio. The top two Ducks lines have size and speed and can negate Calgary’s talented players, while Thompson and Jackman can attempt to physically wear down the Flames crashers and bangers. They may be giving up some possession time to Calgary’s fourth line due to face-off superiority for the Flames, but it’s also the fourth line and the Ducks may be fine with that.

    If I’m Calgary, I try this: Stajan’s line against Kesler’s line, Backlund’s line against Getzlaf’s line, and then let Monahan’s line play against any of the Ducks’ bottom-six. The key here is you utilize Ferland and Jones to wear down Kesler’s trio, and the speed of Backlund and Bennett and the physicality of Colborne (and Bennett) can attempt to wear down the Getzlaf/Perry dynamic duo. And the Monahan line simply need time and space to create offense, and they’re likely fast enough to avoid the physicality of the Ducks’ bottom six.


    I’m leaning towards the Ducks strategy, if only because they get an extra home game in the series. But given that the Flames were able to steal a game at home from the Canucks, your guess is as good as mine.

    • MichaelD

      You gotta stop with all the articles on gameday. I heard that Drew Shore might be in tonight so I come here, but I gotta scroll down and sort through a bunch of stuff.

      I appreciate the content but save it for the off days.

    • MichaelD

      Just want to say grats for the amazing underdog season the flames are having. So happy you destroyed the canucks(hate them almost as much as you do). good luck against the ducks. Dont think you have a chance but…that team just keeps on proving ALL experts wrong! Hope your team continues to improve. my son doesnt understand how great the “battle of alberta” was in the past. Having said that its really nice to know that nobody in calgary can see whats happening in edmonton. dont listen to the eastern media. we are only about 3 pieces away from having a “weapon of mass destruction” just like the famous quote on Star Wars….THATS NOT A MOON! THATS A SPACE STATION!!! cheers 🙂

    • mk

      In other words, you should Anaheim would go 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 while Calgary is trying for (CGYvANA format) 1v3/4, 2v1, 3v2, 4v3/4? Interesting.

      My big question is how Anaheim plays their D in this series. James Wisniewski is sitting ready for this series and I think he matches better than Stoner vs our top 6.