Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flames Undaunted Heading into Second Round of Playoffs against Mighty Ducks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flames Undaunted Heading into Second Round of Playoffs against Mighty Ducks

Article excerpt

Calgary Flames undaunted by mighty Ducks

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CALGARY - Stats, shmats. Analytics, shmanalytics. The Calgary Flames bucked odds and defied expectations en route to the second round of NHL playoffs.

The Ducks are heavily favoured to beat the Flames in their Western Conference semifinal starting Thursday in Anaheim. The Flames intend to keep thumbing their noses at those who think their lightning is about to leave the bottle.

"We're not worried about the stats," Flames forward Michael Ferland said. "We just want to go there and be the harder-working team for sure and let our feet and bodies do the talking."

Game 2 is Sunday at the Honda Centre before the series heads to Calgary next week.

The Flames face a heavier, deeper, harder-to-the-net team than the Vancouver Canucks they beat in the first round.

Going six games against the Canucks moved the needle on Calgary's lack of playoff experience with eight players getting their first taste.

The Ducks are more seasoned in the post-season having qualified four of the last five years. Captain Ryan Getzlaf, winger Corey Perry and defenceman Francois Beauchemin won a Stanley Cup in 2007.

Calgary made the NHL playoffs for the first time in six years and got beyond the first round for the first time in 11.

Anaheim topped the Pacific Division and earned the top seed in the Western Conference with 51 wins, compared to Calgary's 45. Anaheim's average weight is 207 pounds, while Calgary's is 195.4.

"Here's probably one of the best teams in the NHL, if not the best team when you look at stats, when you ask any expert or people around the game," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said. "They're big and they're fast.

"We have big hearts. We have no fear. We've showed it all year. We're solid. You might bend us, but you're not going to break us."

Calgary doubled the Ducks 6-3 in the last regular-season meeting March 11, but Anaheim won three of five meetings overall including both at home.

For the Flames to extend their Cinderella season, they need to solve the hostile Honda Centre where Calgary hasn't won a regular season game since 2004. …

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