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Anaheim Mighty Ducks Vs Calgary Flames

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Calgary Flames (Seed 3)

The Flames won the Northwest Division with 103 points and a 46-25-11 record. No one on the team had 70 points, with only Jarome Iginla (RW) coming near to that total with 67. He led the team in golas by 10, putting 35 points in the net. With goals for at 218 and goals against standing at 208, this is a team that has to make every shot count.

However, this is also a team that can kill penalties, with Miikka Kiprusoff, a possible league MVP, in goal giving the club a decided edge. The net minder led the NHL in wins and was fourth in save percentage with a .923 mark. That’s an amazing feat when you consider the fact that Kiprusoff played 74 games, 39 more that Cristobal Huet, who led the league in that area. Kiprusoff’s 2.07 GAA and 10 shutouts were best in the NHL.

But it can’t be all Kiprusoff all the time, especially since he’s been nursing a hip injury during the season. If something happens to the Flames’ goalie the team would be in trouble; the Flames have no one who could replace him.

Along with stellar goaltending, the best thing Calgary has going for it is its work ethic. The team is not fast, it does not score a lot and they don’t need home cooking to win. This Flames have the best road record in the NHL.

One more guy to watch is rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf. He’s a great transitional player who looks like he’s been skating on NHL ice for half a decade. In his intitial season he’s +5 with 20 goals and 29 assists. He may be new to the NHL, but he’s quickly become the centerpiece of the Calgary defense that includes Robyn Regehr, Andrew Ference, Roman Hamrlik and Jordan Leopold. Individually, they are not exceptional but as a group they are as solid as any other “D” in the NHL.

For Calgary to make it through several rounds, they will have to take advantage of every scoring opportunity they get and continue their great play in the defensive zone.

Anaheim Ducks (Seed 6)

With Teemu Selanne (40 G, 50 A) on wing, Andy McDonald (34 G, 51 A) at center and Scott Niedermayer (13 G, 50 A) on defense, the Ducks look good. Selanne has overcone knee problems and finished at a stellar +28.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere (30-15, 2.66 GA, .911 SAV%) provides veteran leadership and playoff experience. The team has some great rookie energy and power in Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Giguere is a very good net minder but may not have enough to take this team deep into the tournament. This young team will have a tough time going far but should be a force in the league for a long time.

First Round Playoff Series Prediction:

Calgary over Anaheim in 7 games

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