Line combinations change frequently in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks aren’t shy about trying out different wingers alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Perhaps they’ve found a more permanent fit in Patrick Maroon, though?
It makes sense in many ways.
Most obviously, the 27-year-old matches up with Perry and Getzlaf in providing a physical presence. NHL.com lists him at 231 lbs., pretty hefty for league standards. He’s been productive in the playoffs so far (four points in five games) and appears to be the Ducks dynamic duo’s most frequentlinemate.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told NHL.com that it’s all about Maroon becoming more reliable.
“When you’ve only been in this League for a little over two years, the consistency sometimes isn’t there,” Boudreau said. “That’s the only thing that’s plagued him through the course of the year. When he’s on top of his game, he’s a big force for us, but he’s back on that line because he’s been consistent of late and he’s been playing the same way. There’s no letdown in his game.”
“No letdown” is also a good way to describe how the Ducks played against the Flames in Game 1. We’ll see if Maroon & Co. can keep their impressive run going on Sunday night.
Flames’ Gaudreau wasn’t happy with benching in Game 1
The Calder Trophy finalist was the recipient of a hit from behind courtesy Nate Thompson early in the second period.
On Friday Hartley admitted the 21-year-old was not happy watching as his teammates fell 6-1 at the Honda Center.
“I believe he wasn’t OK with this,” said Hartley per the Calgary Herald. “When I told him early in the third period and I told him why wasn’t playing. Johnny wants to be on the ice.”
Gaudreau, who has two goals and four assists in seven playoff games, agreed it was tough to watch.
“Yeah, I mean watching the guys out there skate to a 5-0 game, in a physical game like that,” he said. “I want to be out there with him. But you’ve gotta listen to the coach. He knows what’s best.”
After scoring 24 goals and 64 points in 80 regular season games, Gaudreau feels he can still be better as the series continues Sunday in Anaheim.
“Obviously I need to play better and play harder,” he said. “It was a 5-0 game at that point so I don’t know what the coach was really thinking at that time. But I think I’m going to come out flying in the second game and make sure I’m a little bit better.”
Ouch. What else can you say about the 6-1 beating the Anaheim Ducks handed the Calgary Flames in Game 1?
When the Ducks chased Jonas Hiller in the second period, some may have held out hope that it would light another fire under the Cinderella Flames. Instead, it became clear that this wasn’t all on him, as Karri Ramo let up just as many goals.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were like men among boys in this one, with the Ducks’ dynamic duo grabbing four points each (two goals and two assists for Perry, one goal and three helpers for Getzlaf). The Ducks thoroughly dismantled the Flames to the point that it felt like Anaheim could score at will on Thursday.
.@AnaheimDucks' Perry (also 2-2—4 in GM 1 vs WPG) is 1st player to post multiple 4-pt. games in 1 playoff year since Keith Primeau in 2004.
Frederik Andersen made some key early saves against the Flames. He likely only regrets missing out on a shutout.
If both Flames goalies struggling and a total embarrassment doesn’t scream “worst-case scenario” enough, Calgary even suffered some injuries in this one. The most worrisome loss is Jiri Hudler, their regular season scoring leader (although they may miss Michael Ferland against the big, mean Ducks as well).
Johnny Gaudreau also didn’t see any shifts in the third period. That could very well be a coach’s decision, but he did take a rough-looking cross-check to the back. Either way, it’s a pretty terrible night for the often-sensational line of Gaudreau, Hudler and Sean Monahan.
The Flames need to search long and hard for positives beyond “it’s just one game” and the continued scoring success of Sam Bennett (who scored Calgary’s lone goal). Perhaps “we’ve been in trying positions before” will work, though.
That said, if Game 1 is any indication, this could be an ugly fall for one of the league’s genuine surprise stories.
It also might be a sign that the Ducks are very deserving of the West’s top seed …
After missing Round 1, hits leader Thompson back for Ducks
Thompson, out since Apr. 11 with an upper-body ailment, had a pretty productive first season in Anaheim — he scored five goals and 18 points in 80 games while averaging 13:19 TOI per night. The 30-year-old also led the team in hits, with 204, and finished third among forwards in blocked shots.
Thompson’s presence will be a boon for Anaheim as it looks to match the physicality Calgary brought in its opening-round series against Vancouver. The Flames out-hit the Canucks 163-118 over the six-game series, with the likes of Micheal Ferland and Joe Colborne leading the way.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
For the fourth time in five years and fifth time in seven the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are meeting in the playoffs. The last two playoff meetings between the clubs have gone seven games with the Rangers winning both. The Rangers won three of four meetings between the two teams during the regular season. John Forslund and Pierre McGuire have the call of Game 1 from Madison Square Garden.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to avoid another second round loss as they play host to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 tonight. The L.A. Kings bounced the Ducks from last spring’s playoffs in seven games. Meanwhile the Flames are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Jonas Hiller, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Ducks, will be Calgary’s Game 1 starter. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call from the Honda Center.