2015 NHL Playoffs Series Preview: Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

By Nick Villano
Flames VS. Ducks
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames are ready to compete to represent the Pacific Division in the Western Conference Finals. This has the chance to be the best series of the second round.

The offenses of these two teams are very different. The Flames are built specifically on youth, with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan as the primary goal scorers. Jiri Hudler also enjoyed a bounce-back season where he led the team in points with 76. They can get offense from anywhere, with 11 people scoring double-digit goals during the regular season. The Ducks having a ton of veteran presence on the offensive side. The addition of Ryan Kesler was a game changer for the Pacific Division. He needed some  time to get acclimated to a new team, but he was great once he finally settled in. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were their usual amazing selves. It is hard to truly give an advantage here, but it looks like it is Anaheim by a hair.

The defensive conversation would have been very different had Mark Giordano been in the lineup for the Flames. Unfortunately, he is done for the season. Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie have done a great job stepping in, but they aren’t the superstar that Giordano is. The Ducks’ defense is the unit that is the young up-and-comers. Sami VatanenSimon Despres and Hampus Lindholm are all under the age of 24, but have developed into one of the strongest units in the NHL. Add in Francois Beauchemin as a veteran presence, and you have a slight edge for the Ducks again.

The goaltender matchup may be the most intriguing in the playoffs. Jonas Hiller will be trying to eliminate his former team. Then there is Freddy Andersen trying to show he was the right choice in net.

The Ducks are going to win this series after six hard-fought games by both teams. It will come down to offense, and again the Ducks have the edge there. Look for a lot of hitting, and many breakaways in this series.

Nick Villano is the NHL feature writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NBA, MLB and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google circle.

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