ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Six games deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs, nobody has been able to beat the Anaheim Ducks.
Although the Flames kept it uncomfortably close for 50 minutes Sunday night, Frederik Andersen kept Calgary off the scoreboard until his teammates grinded out another win in a championship chase that gathers momentum with every outing.
Andersen made 30 saves in his first career postseason shutout, Matt Beleskey scored in the first period and the Ducks remained perfect with a 3-0 victory over the Flames in Game 2 of their second-round series.
Hampus Lindholm scored his first career playoff goal with 8:45 to play for the Ducks, who have followed up their first-round sweep of Winnipeg with two solid victories over the upstart Flames. The Ducks are just the sixth team since 1990 to win its first six playoff games.
Although Calgary showed more fight after the Ducks’ 6-1 win in the opener, the Ducks barely seemed bothered while they methodically moved halfway to their first Western Conference finals since 2007, Anaheim’s only championship year.
“We’re a really good team, so we battle hard for each other,” Andersen said after holding the Flames to one goal on 54 shots in the first two games. “I’m most excited about the two wins. That’s pretty much all I care about. We’re happy with that, but we’re not satisfied at all.”
Game 3 is Tuesday night in Calgary.
Nate Thompson added an empty-net goal as Pacific Division champion Anaheim won six straight playoff games for the first time since 2006. Corey Perry had two assists for the Ducks, giving him an NHL-best 13 points in the postseason.
Although the series is lopsided in the Ducks’ favor on the scoreboard, Anaheim got just one goal from a fantastic first period in Game 2 before Calgary controlled play for long stretches of the last 40 minutes.
“I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination that this was a dominant effort for us,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We stopped working as hard as we did in the first period, and they created a lot of havoc in our end. The pace of the game was an awful lot faster. That’s what Calgary can bring, and they brought it.”
But the Flames couldn’t score — and rarely even came close.
Andersen had fewer tough saves than Calgary counterpart Karri Ramo, yet the Ducks’ Danish netminder was unflappable as he solidified his credentials for his first playoff run. Andersen shared time in net last postseason with Jonas Hiller and John Gibson.
Ramo stopped 31 shots in an outstanding performance for the Flames, who have lost 21 consecutive games at Honda Center since the first round of the 2006 playoffs.
“It doesn’t really matter. We lost the game,” Ramo said. “There are some good things we did in the game. We battled hard, but we lost it. Now we are in a bit of a hole, but we go home and feel really good playing at home. We win two games, we’re right back in it.”
Ramo had little chance when Ryan Kesler floated a crossing pass between two Flames to Beleskey for his second goal of the postseason, but the Finnish goalie finished the first period with 19 saves. That’s when Calgary stepped up.
“We knew we were going to get their best push,” Kesler said. “They threw a lot at Freddie, but Freddie stood tall.”
Calgary kept up the push in the third, but Lindholm gave some breathing room to Anaheim with a rising shot through traffic, beating Ramo past Perry’s screen.
The Flames pulled Ramo with nearly 3 1/2 minutes left, but Thompson scored from mid-ice a minute later.
“We need the puck, and when we have the puck, we’re a better team,” Flames forward Sean Monahan said. “This is a crucial time for us to find a way to produce.”
Calgary coach Bob Hartley shuffled his lineup for Game 2, with Ramo starting after Hiller was chased from the opener by his former Ducks teammates. Forward Jiri Hudler was in the lineup after leaving the opener with an injury, but Micheal Ferland was scratched after his own injury.
David Wolf made his NHL playoff debut and even took shifts on Calgary’s top line after playing in just three regular-season games. Mason Raymond also returned to the lineup, missing a point-blank scoring chance on Andersen in the second period.
NOTES: Jockey Victor Espinoza attended the game, cheering on the Ducks roughly 27 hours after winning the Kentucky Derby aboard American Pharoah. … Calgary D Raphael Diaz was scratched again. The Swiss blue-liner is close to a return from injury, but hasn’t played in the postseason. … Gibson didn’t dress due to the flu. Jason LaBarbera was Andersen’s backup for Game 2, but Gibson is expected to travel to Calgary.
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