CALGARY - The Anaheim Ducks have the upper hand in their playoff series against the Calgary Flames. They intend to use it to close it out early at home.
A 4-2 victory in Calgary on Friday gave the Ducks a lead of three games to one in their best-of-seven conference semifinal. Game 5 is Sunday in Anaheim, Calif., at the Honda Centre, which has been a hostile building for the Flames historically.
The Flames have just one win in the arena — a single playoff victory in 2006 — in the last 11 years.
The Ducks recovered from a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3 and a slow start in Game 4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome to both hand the Flames their first loss at home this post-season and take a two-win cushion into Sunday.
"It's huge. I think it's a big difference," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "It's either they have all the momentum in the world coming into our building (or) now we feel pretty comfortable going back home and playing with our fans and hopefully ending the series."
Cogliano pulled the Ducks even in the second period off a Calgary turnover. Matt Beleskey scored the eventual power-play winner to start the third.
Patrick Maroon scored an empty-netter for the visitors. Jacob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist and goaltender Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the win.
Sean Monahan and Michael Ferland scored for Calgary with Karri Ramo stopping 25-of-28 shots in the loss.
"I know that everyone that's going to get on the plane together believes that we can go and get Game 5 and force a Game 6 over here," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said.
"That's the identity of this organization all year and we're not going to change. It's a tough loss tonight. We're going to swallow it and tomorrow we'll be back at work."
The Ducks fell a win short of the Western Conference final last year. They were eliminated in Game 7 at home by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
"This is to go to the conference finals and that's a big game for a lot of guys in this room," Cogliano said. "A lot of guys weren't able to get over that hump last year and I think we'll be ready to do that."
Beleskey's goal was his fourth in as many games in this series. He batted in a rebound at 1:11 of the third for a power-play goal. Calgary's Joe Colborne was slapped with a double minor at the second-period buzzer for high-sticking Anaheim defenceman Francois Beauchemin.
"That's on me," Colborne said. "I definitely let the boys down there. It's tough, but we're not out of it yet. We're going to rebound and come back and have the best game of the year in Game 5."
The Flames had almost a minute of 5-on-3 in the third with Kyle Palmieri and Cogliano serving hooking and holding minors respectively. But the Ducks killed it and the subsequent man advantage.
"To get the fresh ice on the power play was really good and the 5-on-3 penalty kill, they're huge momentum changers," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Flames rookie and Calder Trophy finalist Johnny Gaudreau set up Monahan's first goal of the series with breathtaking stickwork and speed, but it was his turnover that Anaheim converted into the tying goal in the second.
Palmieri stripped Gaudreau of the puck and dished to Cogliano, who beat Ramo between the pads at 16:42 of the second period.
"We can talk about Johnny, we can talk about Colbie's penalty," Hartley said. "They will learn. They are two great kids. It's sad because we paid on both of those situations."
Anaheim scored first on Silfverberg's power-play goal, but the Flames led 2-1 after a stronger opening period. Calgary's relentless forecheck hamstrung the Ducks defencemen breaking out of their own end.
The Flames outshot Anaheim 9-2 before the Ducks began generating scoring chances late in the period.
Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf doesn't want a return trip to the Saddledome, even if it is his former major junior rink when he played for the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen.
"I'd like to be done for the year," he said. "That's kind of the game plan going home. We know it's not an easy task. They're going to come and give us everything we have."
Calgary beefed up with rugged wingers Lance Bouma and Ferland returning to the lineup from injury. Anaheim forward Tomas Fleischmann drew in for the first time in the series for Emerson Etem.
Notes: Beauchemin's 34th and 35th career playoff assists moved him into fourth all-time for the Ducks ahead of Scott Niedermayer . . Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund were scratched from Calgary's lineup . . . Anaheim goaltender John Gibson made his first appearance of the post-season backing up Andersen. The Ducks said he was out with the flu.