ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Corey Perry, who looked like he had suffered a serious knee injury in the second period, returned to action and scored the winning goal from his knees at 2 minutes, 26 seconds into overtime. The 3-2 decision for the Anaheim Ducks over the Calgary Flames propels them to the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks dispatched the Flames in five games.
How it happened: The Flames seemed on their way to playing a near-perfect road game. Jiri Hudler opened the scoring midway through the first period on the power play with his first point of the series. Calgary responded quickly to Anaheim’s first goal, a power-play marker early in the second period, to retake the lead 56 seconds later on a Johnny Gaudreau goal. But late in the second period, Matt Stajan of the Flames collided with Perry near the Anaheim blue line, leaving the NHL’s leading playoff point-getter clutching his knee and hobbling to the dressing room. A fired-up Ducks team responded with furious pressure late in the second, leading to a penalty call as time expired on Mikael Backlund. Perry returned to action in the third period, and Matt Beleskey tipped home a Francois Beauchemin shot 59 seconds into the third, marking the fifth straight game in which Beleskey has scored to tie the game. The Ducks dominated throughout the third and into overtime until Perry provided the finisher after a mad scramble in front of Flames goaltender Karri Ramo.
What it means: The Ducks will move on to the West finals for the first time since 2007, when they won their only Stanley Cup. Also critical was that Perry returned to the ice in the third period, although he did look as though he was laboring. With the Blackhawks having swept the Minnesota Wild in the second round, it was vital for the Ducks to close out the Flames as quickly as possible. As for Calgary, the loss brings to an end an inspiring tale of perseverance and teamwork. The Flames were not expected to challenge for a playoff spot at all; instead, they advanced to the second round and gave the Ducks a stern test.
Player of the game: When Perry went down after the Stajan hit, it initially appeared the injury could have been calamitous. But there he was back on the ice late in the second, then taking a regular, if gingerly shift in the third. But when it mattered most, Perry was in the midst of the fray, somehow getting the puck to the back of the net for his seventh goal and 15th point in just nine games.
Stat of the game: 25. That’s how many straight games the Flames have lost to the Ducks in Anaheim. They lost two playoff games in 2006, 20 straight regular-season games and now three more playoff games this spring.
What’s next? The Ducks will await the schedule against the Hawks, but they will enjoy home ice advantage against Chicago and likely will open at home on Friday or Saturday.