ALBERTA

Five keys to second-round playoff series between Flames and Ducks

04/29/2015 06:41 EDT | Updated 08/06/2015 12:59 EDT
CALGARY - The Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks open their Western Conference semifinal Thursday at the Honda Centre. Here are five keys to the series:

Top lines — Both sides expect and need production from their top forward lines. Anaheim's dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry with foot soldier Patrick Maroon combined for five goals in a first-round sweep of Winnipeg. Calgary's Sean Monahan and winger Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau produced seven goals in six games against Vancouver, including four in the final game.

Goalies — Calgary's Jonas Hiller, who was a Duck a year ago, and Anaheim's Frederik Andersen had up-and-down first rounds. Hiller was solid until Game 6, when he allowed two goals on three shots and was pulled for Karri Ramo. Andersen stopped 109 of the 118 shots in a four-game sweep of Winnipeg, but gave up four goals in Game 3.

What's in the tank? — Anaheim is more rested and likely less injured after playing just six games in the last month. The Ducks clinched the division title on April 1. Calgary kept the pedal to the floor to stay in playoff contention. The Flames worked their top three defencemen hard over the final stretch of the regular season and in the first round.

What's under the hood? — Calgary took time and space away from Vancouver's defencemen with a ferocious forecheck. They'll use their speed again to keep the Anaheim blue-liners from easily exiting their zone. The Ducks have the heft to wear the Flames down and win battles for the puck.

No lead is safe — The Flames and Ducks each earned 24 of their points in the regular season trailing after two periods. Anaheim came from behind in three of their four wins against Winnipeg. Calgary came back from three- and one-goal deficits to defeat Vancouver 7-4 in Game 6.

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