Ducks sweep the Flames, advance to second round

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The Anaheim Ducks are off to the second round. The Calgary Flames now head into the off-season.

The Ducks completed a first-round sweep of the Flames thanks to a 3-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday.

In Game 3, the Flames had a three-goal lead and coughed that up in an overtime loss. In the end, that proved devastating. In the deciding game, the Flames couldn’t complete a comeback of their own after the worst start imaginable.

Brian Elliott let in a soft opening goal to Patrick Eaves and was pulled less than six minutes into the game. Nate Thompson and the Ducks capitalized again, just 1:08 later, this time beating Chad Johnson.

That put Calgary behind right away and despite a second-period power play goal from Sean Monahan — his fourth of the post-season — the Flames never fully recovered.

A big reason for that was the play of Ducks goalie John Gibson. He was pulled in Game 3, then watched as back-up Jonathan Bernier stopped every shot he faced in Anaheim’s comeback win.

But Gibson regrouped nicely in Game 4, making 36 saves, a number of which were of the difficult variety. Going back to Gibson was apparently an easy decision for coach Randy Carlyle, and the Ducks were ultimately rewarded with a stellar effort from their netminder.

The Ducks should now get a substantial rest heading into the second round. The Edmonton-San Jose series is guaranteed to go at least six games. A few days in between games could certainly be beneficial for Anaheim, particularly when it comes to injured defensemen Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen.

Vatanen wasn’t available for Game 4, while Fowler has resumed skating since his April 4 knee injury.