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Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks 2017 Western Conference First Round Series Predictions, Picks and Preview

Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks 2017 Western Conference First Round Series Predictions, Picks and Preview

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Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks Series Preview

*view all NHL Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series lines here

Series Schedule

  • Game 1: April 13, 10:30 PM ET, at Anaheim
  • Game 2: April 15, 10:30 PM ET, at Anaheim
  • Game 3: April 17, 10:00 PM ET, at Calgary
  • Game 4: April 19, 9:00 PM ET, at Calgary
  • Game 5: April 21, TBD, at Anaheim*
  • Game 6: April 23, TBD, at Calgary*
  • Game 7: April 25, TBD, at Anaheim*

          (*if necessary)

Regular Season Head-to-Head

The Ducks took four of five meetings against Calgary this regular season, proving that the boys from SoCal have continued to own the Albertans. What worse for the Flames is that this is basically the same Anaheim team that took them out in five games during the second round of the 2015 playoffs.

Why the Flames Will Win the Series (+150)

Whether captain Mark Giordano’s brutal low hit to Anaheim’s top defenseman Cam Fowler was intentional or not, the Flames will nonetheless be able to capitalize on a thinned Ducks blue line for their returning cast to exact further vengeance from 2015’s playoff loss. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund – Calgary lifers and the team’s top-three scorers this season – make for a formidable attack that also has breakout rookie Matthew Tkachuk (13 goals, 35 assists) playing at a high level.

But in the end, the Flames’ success will basically hinge on goalie Brian Elliott, whom the Flames acquired in the offseason because of his playoff experience. Elliott broke out of his early slump by jacking up his save percentage to .930 and dipping his goals-against average to 2.30 after the All-Star break. He’ll need to keep that form intact if he’s to redeem himself from his rough going as the Blues’ netminder at the Western Conference Finals against the Sharks last year.

Why the Ducks Will Win the Series (-180)

Well, the Ducks just won their fifth-consecutive Pacific Division title by going a superb 11-0-3 over their last 14 games of the regular season. They definitely have a ton of momentum on their side compared to Flames, who went a mere 5-8-0 in their final 13 contests.

Just about every Anaheim player will be out for blood in the wake of Fowler’s injury, and the team has more weapons to counter Calgary’s own arsenal at that. The Ducks have four players from the 2014-15 squad with 50-point campaigns this season in Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and Rickard Rackell. The X-factor between them would have to be Rackell, who’ll be called upon in the clutch given his NHL-best 10 game-winners.

But wait, there’s more: the Ducks also have an astounding 25-game home winning streak against the Flames dating all the way back to the 2004 season, which means home-ice advantage will be a bigger factor here than in the other playoff series on tap.

Writer’s Prediction

The Ducks (+180) nearly get cooked by the Flames, but they still emerge victorious from the series in six games.

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Mark
Written by Mark

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