Anaheim Ducks: 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs

Looking at another Kings-Canadiens final?

May, 16, 2014
Deja vu all over again: The Pacific Division-champion Anaheim Ducks host the Los Angeles Kings Friday night in Game 7. If the Ducks lose, there will be no division champions in the conference finals. The last time the conference finals didn't feature a division champion was 1992-93 (Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders all advanced). That season, the Canadiens and Kings advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. Deja vu in 2014?

Ducks' chances looking Mighty good

May, 16, 2014
Western Conference Second Round – Game 7
Kings at Ducks, 9 ET (Series tied, 3-3)

Looking for an omen in this game?

Look no further than "The Mighty Ducks" -- the movie that spawned the Anaheim Ducks franchise. Corey Perry plays for the Ducks. He is their best goal scorer and one of the league's best players. Adam Banks was the best player on The Mighty Ducks, their best goal scorer and also one of the best players in the league.

One might say Corey Perry Corey Perry is the Adam Banks of this team. celebrates his birthday on Friday, and the actor who plays Adam Banks -- Vincent Larusso -- also celebrates his birthday on Friday.

The final game of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs will take place on Friday night, as the Kings visit the Ducks in Game 7. This will be the 27th game of the second round, tying the record for most games played in the round since the playoff field expanded to eight teams in 1968. This is the fourth All-California Game 7 in NHL history, and the Kings have won the first three.

* If the Kings win, it will be the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history that a team won consecutive series in a single season despite losing three straight games in each of them
* Kings: 5-0 in games when facing elimination in 2014 playoffs (4-0 in first-round series vs San Jose and Game 6 of this series)
21-26 all-time in games when facing playoff elimination
* Kings: 5-4 all-time in Game 7s (won last 2); 3-3 on road in Game 7s (won Game 7 at San Jose in first round)
* Anze Kopitar (LA): leads postseason in assists (13) and points (17); has points in 5 of first 6 games in series (0 G, 7 A)
* Marian Gaborik (LA): leads all players in goals during 2014 playoffs with 8 – 1 shy of career-high for a single postseason (had 9 goals in 18 games in 2003 playoffs with MIN)
* Ducks: last remaining regular-season division winner in 2014 playoffs (won Pacific Division)
* Ducks: 2-3 all-time in Game 7s (lost last 2); 1-1 at home in Game 7s (beat Phoenix in 1997 conference quarterfinals, lost to Detroit in 2013 conference quarterfinals)
* Ducks: leads all teams in postseason in power-play goals (12); 8-25 (32.0 pct) on power play at home in 2014 playoffs
* Corey Perry: 29th birthday
* Ryan Getzlaf (ANA): tied for 2nd in playoff scoring with 14 points (4 G, 10 A); 7 pts (1 G, 6 A) in first 6 games of this series (0 pts in Game 6)

Ducks-Kings battle gets simplified

May, 12, 2014

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Battle of SoCal is down a simple scenario.

"It's a best-of-three now," Kings captain Dustin Brown said Monday morning ahead of Game 5. "It's a long way to win that first one. I can't really disagree with that."

The Kings have lost two straight after opening with a pair of wins at Honda Center. They were shut out by rookie John Gibson on Saturday night and know they'll face him again in Game 5.

"I think it is just finishing chances we had," Brown said. "We had a lot of really good chances but didn't put them in the net. Gibson played well, but at the same time we need to bear down when we get those Grade-A scoring chances."

The Ducks are expected to get center Mathieu Perreault back for Game 5 after he missed one game. But Matt Beleskey remains out. Devante Smith-Pelly replaced Beleskey on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Game 4 and opened the scoring. He looked good on that top unit.

"I thought I did pretty well, not bad," Smith-Pelly said. "Playing with those guys, I just have to do my thing and let them play their game. If I try and play like them, I probably won’t do too well. As long as I’m able to play my game, I’ll be able to help."

Ducks forward lines from the morning skate:

Devante Smith-Pelly-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Jakob Silfverberg
Daniel Winnik-Nick Bonino-Kyle Palmieri
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Teemu Selanne

The Kings did not show lines. Here’s how they lined up for Game 4, when head coach Darryl Sutter scrambled his lines:

Marian Gaborik-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Tanner Pearson-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
Dwight King-Jarret Stoll-Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford-Trevor Lewis-Tyler Toffoli

But things might very well change for Game 5 Monday night.

W2W4: Key stats for Monday's games

May, 12, 2014
Eastern Conference second round – Game 6
Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 ET (Bruins lead series, 3-2)

* Bruins: 3-11 all-time in playoff games at MTL with chance to clinch series (lost last) (last win in MTL with chance to clinch series: 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals Game 4 – won 4-1)
* Bruins: 2-4 on power play in Game 5 win (0-8 on power play in 1st 4 games of series)
* P.K. Subban (MTL): leads all defensemen in playoff scoring with 12 points (4 G, 8 A); 7 points (4 G, 3 A) in 5 games in this series (had 1 assist in 4 games vs BOS during regular season)
* Canadiens: 1-9 (11.1 pct) on power play in 4 home games this postseason (Max Pacioretty GWG goal in Game 4 of first round vs TB); 7-20 (35.0 pct) on power play in 5 road games during 2014 postseason

Western Conference second round – Game 5
Kings at Ducks, 10 ET (Series tied, 2-2)

* Road teams has won 1st 4 games of series -- road team has not won the 1st 5 games of a series since 2004 Western Conference finals between the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks (home team won 1st 5 games, Flames won at home to win series in Game 6) The Flames coach that season was current Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
* Kings: won last 4 road playoff games (Games 5 & 7 in first round vs San Jose, Games 1 & 2 of this series); were 1-11 in previous 12 road playoff games prior to this streak
* Anze Kopitar (LA): leads all players in 2014 in playoffs in assists (11) and points (15); 11 assists are one shy of career high for a single postseason (had 12 assists in 2012 playoffs)
* Ducks: 9-23 (39.1 pct) on power play in last 6 playoff games (2-16, 12.5 pct in 1st 4 playoff games); lead all teams in 2014 playoffs in PPG with 11

Ducks sticking with Gibson for Game 5

May, 11, 2014

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After starting three different goalies in three straight games, Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau decided to alleviate any suspense on Sunday.

The kid stays in, obviously, after a 28-save shutout.

"Well, I kind of believe that it's not a difficult decision," Boudreau said with a smile. "I'm not going to try to play that game. He came in. He played great. He's going to go again."

Boudreau said he told John Gibson on Friday night that he was the starter for Game 4, and told a disappointed Jonas Hiller the news on Saturday morning.

While his face could not hide his disappointment Sunday, to Hiller’s credit he said he was willing to accept whatever is good for the team, that he just wants to be supportive of his teammates.

Prodded Sunday to find out why he made the decision to start a rookie without NHL playoff experience, Boudreau was asked about playing in the AHL in the mid-1980s when his club was upset by a 19-year-old goalie in the playoffs.

"We lost to Patrick Roy that year," Boudreau said. "And then we've also done the same thing coming out of juniors to Carey Price in the American League (2007 AHL playoffs), where he beat us in the championship. You know young kids can do it. They just come up and they're ready. And those two that I just mentioned obviously were very special goalies. I think, and I don't want to hype him too much, this is what they've been talking about him for the last three years."

The Price-Gibson comparisons have already begun, in large part because both are so calm and cool.

"Nothing seems to bother him and that was the thing I first saw with Carey Price," Boudreau said. "In that [AHL] series, you couldn't faze him. He'd just move and make all the saves look easy. Consequently he's gone on to be one of the best."

Ducks' injuries

Boudreau said center Mathieu Perreault (lower-body injury) would be a game-time decision Monday night. But Boudreau said injured winger Matt Beleskey and injured goalie Frederik Andersen would sit. Both players suffered lower-body injuries in Game 3 and did not play in Game 4.

Kings look to rebound

Meanwhile, out at the Kings' training facility in El Segundo on Sunday, a veteran team looked to recharge after dropping two straight.

Head coach Darryl Sutter had some fun, too.

"Yeah, I’m not rattled. I’m just thankful I’m alive today. I’m fortunate to pull through after the devastating loss [Saturday] night," Sutter said before pulling a M.A.S.H. reference out of his repertoire. "Radar and Hawkeye had to get me up to come here today."

Point taken. This is a team that has seen it all, won a Cup two years ago, went to the conference finals last year and erased a 3-0 series deficit to San Jose in the first round this year.

Losing two straight to rival Anaheim is not going to rattle this playoff-savvy group.

"It’s the best-of-three. Nothing wrong with that," veteran center Jarret Stoll told reporters Sunday. "They’re a great team. They had the best record in the West, No. 1 seed, whatever they were. So they’re a good team. We know that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We can say that. It’s a series now. A good, positive day today. We came in and the boys were in good spirits. Get ready to win a road game."

Expect Ducks to dip into depth for Game 3

May, 8, 2014
LOS ANGELES -- The Anaheim Ducks have depth and are likely going to dip into it for Game 3 on Thursday night.

Down 2-0 in the series, why not?

While head coach Bruce Boudreau would not confirm those lineup changes, the betting money is on defenseman Sami Vatanen and winger Kyle Palmieri both being inserted into the lineup as the Ducks look for a bit more offense.

Vatanen, who played for Finland at the Olympics in February, was recalled from AHL Norfolk on Wednesday. My guess is he takes the spot of Mark Fistric in the lineup.

"Puck-moving, he got six goals for us this year, he’s always been an offensive defenseman," Boudreau said Thursday morning about Vatanen, who had 21 points (6-15) in 48 games with the Ducks this season.

Young winger Emerson Etem was sent down to Norfolk, opening up a lineup spot for, most likely, Palmieri, 23, who had 14 goals and 17 assists in 71 games this season for the Ducks.

"He's a great scorer, he led the American League in scoring when he was 19," Boudreau said. "He’s got a great shot. His shot is as good as anybody's. He can skate and he's got a bit of physicality. That's what he brings."

Projected (not confirmed) Ducks lineup:
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Jakob Silfverberg
Devante Smith-Pelly-Nick Bonino-Kyle Palmieri
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Teemu Selanne

Defense pairs
Cam Fowler-Ben Lovejoy
Hampus Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Bryan Allen-Sami Vatanen

Jonas Hiller

Nothing new on the Kings' side, both veteran blueliners Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr remain out. Which means you can likely expect the same Kings lineup for Game 3:

Marian Gaborik-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King-Jarret Stoll-Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford-Mike Richards-Trevor Lewis

Defense pairs
Jake Muzzin-Drew Doughty
Jeff Schultz-Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Where the Kings hope to improve, despite a 2-0 series lead, is they feel they didn't generate enough offense, especially after being held to 17 shots in Game 2.

"We didn't play good enough in Game 2," Kings star blueliner Drew Doughty said Thursday morning after the skate. "We played well enough to win, a good playoff-style game I guess, but it’s still not what we want to be doing. We want to be the team outshooting the other team and obviously not be giving them as many opportunities. If we can put more pucks on the net that would be great, too. The bigger the cushion, the better chance we have to win. We're going to be looking to get more shots and more goals tonight."

Kings looking to keep streak alive

May, 5, 2014
Changing Fortunes in L.A.: The Kings look for their sixth straight win Monday night after losing the first three games this postseason. From Elias: With a win, they would tie a single-season playoff mark for consecutive wins immediately following a losing streak of three games. In 2010, the Flyers lost the first three games of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Bruins, before winning six straight.

Despite 2-0 lead, Ducks need faster starts

April, 20, 2014
DALLAS -- Ryan Getzlaf, his face still beat up, sat at his locker in the visiting dressing room at American Airlines Center and made it clear that, despite a 2-0 series lead, he believes the Anaheim Ducks can and must play better.

"We have to play with the puck a little bit better,” said Getzlaf, who had a goal and an assist in the same week his family welcomed a baby girl. “I thought that last game we turned it over a little bit more than we’re used to, and we let them come at us at the start of the game as opposed to starting on time. That’s kind of our main focus is to get going here at the drop of the puck."

Monday provides a great opportunity for the Ducks to take firm control of the series and attempt to decrease the decibel level of what’s expected to be a raucous home crowd for the Dallas Stars, who haven’t played in the postseason in Dallas since 2008.

"We’ve got to come out strong," said defenseman Stephane Robidas, who played most of the season in Dallas before being traded to Anaheim. "The fans here are going to be pumped. Everyone will be wearing 'Victory Green.' It’s going to be a really good atmosphere."

And that’s something that doesn’t seem to faze the Ducks. Anaheim had 26 road wins, second in the league to only the Colorado Avalanche. Playing in someone else’s building hasn’t bugged them at all.

"I think we play the same way," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said following Anaheim’s practice on Sunday afternoon. "We don’t deviate from how we play. There are no valleys and not a lot of peaks. When you play that way, it’s usually a successful tour for you."

The immediate goal on Monday will be to avoid a struggling first period. Anaheim watched as the Stars came out as the aggressors and got an early 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of Game 2. The Ducks took advantage of Stars mistakes and wrestled the lead back, eventually winning a one-goal game. But they expect a similar Stars push in Game 3.

"I thought we sat back," Getzlaf said. "The first 10 minutes of the hockey game, we were waiting to see what they were going to do. They came out swinging. I think we were being outshot 9-1 at one point. Those are things we’ll address."

Robidas knows that the Ducks will get the Stars’ best effort.

"They’re going to come out really hard," Robidas said. "It’s a team that never quits. I’ve been with that team for most of the year, and they never quit. It doesn’t matter what the score is, they have guys with a lot of pride on the other side, lots of skill and they won’t quit. There’s a reason they made the playoffs. They found a way to make it, and you’ve got to give them credit."

The Ducks say they’ll be ready. The plan: take control of the series with a chance to end it in Anaheim, if necessary. To do that, they need a win in Game 3 or 4.

Rapid Reaction: Ducks 3, Stars 2

April, 19, 2014
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here's a quick look at the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal at Honda Center on Friday.

How it happened: The Ducks pinned the Stars in their end for a solid 2½ minutes late in the second period, taking advantage of the aging legs of almost-42-year-old Ray Whitney and just-turned-40 Sergei Gonchar. The Stars finally got the puck out of their end and managed to keep the pressure on the Ducks for a stretch, but Tyler Seguin made an errant pass across Dallas' blue line to Jamie Benn, who was drifting away from the puck. Benn could only tip the rubber as it skidded in front of him, not enough to prevent Corey Perry from swooping in and taking possession with a full head of steam motoring toward the Dallas goal. Trevor Daley was between Perry and Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, and that probably made Perry even more determined -- in the first period, Daley straddled Perry as he laid on his back in the Dallas crease and got off a few blows before he was banished to the penalty box. Perry cocked and blasted the puck from just inside the right circle, past Lehtonen on the stick side for a 2-1 lead the Ducks would not relinquish.

What it means: The Ducks had to hold off some late pressure from the Stars -- including a power play that began with three minutes left, giving Dallas a two-man advantage for the final 30 seconds when it pulled its goalie -- but Anaheim owns its first 2-0 series lead since the opening round of the 2009 playoffs against the San Jose Sharks and has won two straight playoff games for the first time since winning Games 2 and 3 of the following series against the Detroit Red Wings, a series the Ducks would eventually lose in seven games.

Player of the game: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf had an interesting 48 hours leading up to Game 2. He took a puck to the upper chin in the final seconds of Wednesday’s victory in the series opener, which opened a gaping wound that required numerous stitches. He then spent most of Thursday night and early Friday in the hospital, as his third child was born just before 1 a.m. local time. Neither experience proved too much for Getzlaf, who took the ice Friday night and started things off with a big hit on Alex Goligoski in the opening 30 seconds. He later came through with an unassisted goal in the opening period, which tied the score at one, about 30 seconds after Daley had escaped the box following his roughing penalty on Perry. Getzlaf also assisted on Andrew Cogliano’s short-handed goal in the third period, which gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead.

Stat of the game: Perry, one of only two NHL players with at least 20 goals at home during the regular season, scored the 19th playoff goal of his career -- but first since April 20, 2011 -- in Game 4 against the Nashville Predators.

What’s next: The series moves on to Dallas, where the Stars will host the Ducks in Game 3 on Monday. Anaheim will be looking to take its first 3-0 series lead since the opening round of their Stanley Cup championship run in 2007.