John Gibson helps Anaheim Ducks sweep Calgary Flames, advance to second round

By Laurence Heinen, The Sports Xchange  |  April 20, 2017 at 2:22 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta -- The Anaheim Ducks got the quick start they wanted against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Patrick Eaves and Nate Thompson scored early goals and the Ducks hung on for a 3-1 victory over the Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome to sweep their way into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"I think any time you can put a team behind you, you definitely want to take advantage of it," said Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf, who added an empty-net goal with 6.7 seconds left to seal the victory. "You never want to give life. They're a resilient bunch. They battled right to the end tonight and made us earn it, that's for sure."

After wrapping up their 4-0 Western Conference first-round win over the Flames, the Ducks face the winner of the series between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks, who are tied 2-2, in the second round of the playoffs.

"It's more about a rest for our group," Getzlaf said. "You look at the way we responded after breaks during the season, we're going to take that same approach, same workmanlike attitude and use the break to our advantage."

Goaltender John Gibson made 36 saves to redeem himself after being pulled during the second period of Anaheim's come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Flames in overtime two nights earlier.

"Obviously I wasn't the best the other night," Gibson said. "The team helped me out so I wanted to make sure I was there and help them out tonight."

Sean Monahan scored for Calgary, which has lost seven straight games to Anaheim and 15 of 16 dating back to the second round of the 2015 playoffs, when the Ducks ousted the Flames in five games.

"That's something that stings," Monahan said. "I think we have a great team and moving forward it's a huge step. Obviously right now and throughout the summer getting swept in four is going to sting, but coming back next year, this is an exciting team to be on."

Brian Elliott started in net for the Flames, but was pulled after giving up a bad goal to Eaves at 5:38 of the first period.

"He's been great for us all year," Monahan said of Elliott. "He's made big saves, kept us in games. He carried the team for a little bit there to help us get into the playoffs. It's not on him. We're a group. We're a tight team here. We play together. We win and we lose together."

Chad Johnson stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced in relief.

Trying desperately to win in front of their hometown fans, the Flames outshot the Ducks 12-7 in the third period but weren't able to notch the equalizer.

"Nobody in this room should hang their heads," Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. "We battled hard all series. Every game was a one-goal game. I thought again tonight we didn't have the start we wanted, but after that I really felt we had a strong push."

The Ducks had a couple early chances to open the scoring, but Elliott made back-to-back saves to deny a shot by Andrew Cogliano and the rebound attempt by Jakob Silfverberg.

He wasn't as sharp on Anaheim's third shot as Eaves turned and fired a shot from a bad angle that somehow snuck through his pads.

That prompted Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan to replace Elliott in net with Johnson, who stopped the first shot he faced, off the stick of Rickard Rakell, before Thompson swatted in the rebound to give the Ducks an early 2-0 lead.

The Flames outshot the Ducks 12-9 in the first but weren't able to beat Gibson, who made a nice shoulder save to stop a shot by Mikael Backlund before sprawling to make a pad stop to deny a point-blank attempt by Micheal Ferland.

Calgary continued to press hard in the second period, and the Flames were rewarded at 16:07 when Monahan batted a pass from Kris Versteeg out of mid-air past Gibson for his fourth power-play goal in four games.

NOTES: D Sami Vatanen missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. ... RW Jared Boll and RW Ondrej Kase were healthy scratches for Anaheim, while D Cam Fowler is still out with a knee injury he suffered late in the season. ... C Curtis Lazar and LW/C Freddie Hamilton drew into Calgary's lineup in place of C Matt Stajan and LW/C Lance Bouma. ... D Dennis Wideman and G John Gillies were healthy scratches for the Flames. ... Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf had three goals and two assists, while RW Rickard Rakell scored twice and set up three others in the four games. ... Flames C Sean Monahan finished with four goals and an assist, while RW Kris Versteeg had a goal and three assists.

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