The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames on May 10th to advance to the western conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ducks won game five 3-2 in overtime to cap off the series. Corey Perry scored the OT winner after leaving the ice with an injury in the second period.
The Flames took the lead with a goal from Jiri Hudler in the first period. Ryan Kesler tied the game at 4:59 in the second period but the lead lasted less than a minute as Johnny Gaudreau restored the lead for Calgary, who lead at the end of the second period. Matt Belesky tied up the game early in the third period. The ducks, who outshot the flames 47-19, scored 2:19 into the overtime period to win the game 3-2. Belesky set a franchise record with his goal making him the first Anaheim player in history to score in 5 consecutive playoff goals.
This is the first time the Ducks have made it to the conference finals since 2007, when they won the Stanley Cup. The win was a big night for Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau because it marked the first time he has made it to the final four after failing to do so in previous years with the Washington Capitals. The Ducks have now won 8 playoff games and lost only 1 under Boudreau. This is the best record of any team in the postseason.
Ducks forward Cory Perry, who scored the winning goal, went off the ice injured in the second period after colliding with Calgary’s Matt Stajan. Perry was back on the ice by the end of the second period and was playing in regular shifts in the third and OT which turned out to be vital for the Ducks as he scored the game winner.
The Ducks have had a number of dissappointing playoff exits in recent years including a game 7 loss of the LA Kings in the second round last year and the Detroit Red Wings in the first round the year before. The entire team feels as though they are making amends for those losses this year.
The Ducks will play the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference final. The Blackhawks are looking strong after sweeping the Minnesota Wild. This will be be Anaheim’s biggest challenge of the postseason after sweeping the Jets and defeating the Flames in five.
The Ducks have become one of the strongest teams in the league under Boudreau and look like contenders for the Stanley Cup. The third round will likely start this weekend after the two remaining Eastern conference series’ have been finalized.