Just two short years ago, the Calgary Flames faced their latest playoff opponent: the Anaheim Ducks.
After defeating the Vancouver Canucks six games in the first round, the 2014-15 Flames quickly met their end at the hands of the Ducks. While the Canucks series had been tight and aggressive, the second round wasn’t even comparable. The Ducks outmatched the Flames in virtually every way, and were it not for a dramatic Game 3 – Sam Bennett getting Martin Gelinas’d, Johnny Gaudreau tying the game with seconds to go, Mikael Backlund scoring the overtime winner on a delayed penalty call – they probably would have been swept.
No matter how you slice it, though, they didn’t have a chance.
This year might be different.
The Flames won 45 games this season; the Ducks won 46. The Flames have a 5v5 CF of 50.55%; the Ducks had 49.65% through 81 games. On the other hand, the Ducks did have a +23 goal differential while the Flames managed just +5 – and the Ducks’ GF of 53.16% (through 81 games) is noticeably better than the Flames’ 49.12%.
Let’s put it this way: the Ducks are still favoured to win the series. They’re the division winners and they beat the Flames four out of five times this season, outscoring them 17-14. The Flames’ win? That totally unexpected and very fun 8-3 contest in which they scored five goals in six minutes out of nowhere. If you need to find some way to get hyped:
But just because the Ducks are the favourites doesn’t mean they’ll win. The games are played for a reason, after all. And the Flames are further along than they were two years ago – much further – so they may yet have a chance.
Certainly more of one than they had in 2015, at least.
Time to go back to Disneyland!
Per the NHL, the official schedule (all times MT):
- Game 1: Thursday, April 13 at Anaheim, 8:30 p.m. – CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports
- Game 2: Saturday, April 15 at Anaheim, 8:30 p.m. – CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports
- Game 3: Monday, April 17 at Calgary, 8 p.m. – CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports
- Game 4: Wednesday, April 19 at Calgary, 8 p.m. – CBC, USA, TVA Sports
- Game 5: Friday, April 21 at Anaheim (TBD)
- Game 6: Sunday, April 23 at Calgary (TBD)
- Game 7: Tuesday, April 25 at Anaheim (TBD)