The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs have come and gone for the Anaheim Ducks, who advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2007 after putting out the Calgary Flames in a five-game affair. After dominating the first two games of the series at Honda Center, the Ducks were shocked in overtime at the Saddledome.
From that point on it was all Anaheim, all the time though, as Bruce Boudreau’s squad rattled off two straight wins to close out the series. Here are the three Ducks players who impacted the outcome of the series the most:
3. Frederik Andersen
Andersen shone once again in round two as he did in the previous round against the Winnipeg Jets. All the talk after Calgary’s victory in game three was how the Flames were once again continuing their miracle run, where Andersen let in a stoppable tying goal with 20 seconds left in the game.
The bleeding seemed to continue in game four, as Andersen let in a soft goal on a slap shot from Micheal Ferland. What should have been a routine save turned into a huge momentum boost for the Flames. Andersen only allowed two goals from the end of that first period to the end of the series though, showing some impressive mental toughness. He’ll need all of that toughness and more against the Chicago Blackhawks.
2. Matt Beleskey
After an up and down season for Beleskey, which at one point saw him a healthy scratch, the playoffs have been something of a reminder to the hockey world that he can be an extremely effective offensive player. Potting a goal in each game of the series, Beleskey has been scoring goals in a surgical manner; deflections, one-timers, and just plain old hacks at the puck.
When guys like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are going, the Ducks are a good team. When they have guys like Beleskey going on top of that, they become a dangerous team. If he can keep it up through round three and beyond, Beleskey has a chance to have a few more sports cars in his garage come July 1st.
1. Corey Perry
Is there even a debate for this top spot? Perry played like a man possessed in round two, stepping up as the Ducks’ offensive leader, registering four goals and four assists in five games. He brought his usual brand of physical peskiness, laying on hit after hit on the Calgary defense
Ducks fans held their collective breaths after Perry sustained what appeared to be a bad knee-on-knee collision in game five. Yet he lost no time in coming back into the game, eventually potting a memorable overtime winner in typical Perry fashion: on his knees in the crease with two bodies piled on to him. The Ducks absolutely need to him to continue that against the Blackhawks though, who will present a much more difficult challenge than the Flames.