When the Calgary Flames finished off the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, not only did they advance to the second round in six games, they also avoided a seventh and deciding contest, thus buying a few extra days to rest up for the Anaheim Ducks.
Those few extra days could prove key, given all the ice time that three Flames defensemen — Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, and T.J. Brodie — have been logging.
“We asked those guys to play lots of minutes,” coach Bob Hartley said Tuesday, per the Canadian Press. “They’re very important in our game. We just don’t want them to defend. They’re basically our motor offensively.”
Wideman, Russell, and Brodie each registered four points against the Canucks, their puck-moving abilities drawing rave reviews, especially when compared to Vancouver’s inability to handle Calgary’s forecheck.
Looking ahead to Thursday’s series opener in Anaheim, expect the Ducks to do all they can to wear down the Flames’ trusted trio, laying the body whenever possible, a la Matt Beleskey on Adam Pardy:
Just don’t expect said trio to roll over.
“Those guys have the power of recovering very well,” said Hartley. “They’re great athletes and they want those minutes, they love those responsibilities. They’re giving us unbelievable hockey.”