ANAHEIM, California — Even the Anaheim Ducks are a bit surprised to be the first team through to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Although the Ducks fully expect to contend for a title, they never imagined they would start the postseason by steamrolling the once-streaking Winnipeg Jets.
"I'd be lying if I thought it was going to be a four-game sweep after the way Winnipeg played in the last month of the season," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday. "We were sort of going in and out, playing some good, some bad. We were being inconsistent. I'm pretty surprised."
The Ducks rallied from a deficit to win all four games of the series, capped by a 5-2 victory in the clincher on Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Anaheim led for less than 39 total minutes of the four-game series, but got back to Orange County on Thursday with a week to kill.
"I feel like in the last four games, we've played as well over that four-game space as we've done in any four-game space this season," Boudreau said. "Consistently good, keeping the goals-against down, and actually scoring. In that four-game series, everything was going well."
Boudreau isn't worried about rust for the Ducks, who have played only six games since Feb. 3. The Ducks had just two games in the final week of the regular season, but used that down time for a series of tough practices that appear to be delivering dividends.
"From the end of the season to the first playoff game is probably going to be very similar to what this break is going to be," Boudreau said. "We'll probably follow the same guidelines we used in that to prepare for Winnipeg."
Cogliano, the do-everything speedster who hasn't missed a game in his eight-year NHL career, had a productive series highlighted by three assists in Anaheim's overtime victory in Game 3. Silfverberg lived up to his enormous promise with two goals and four assists in four games, including the winning goal in Game 2 and three points in Game 3.
Boudreau was impressed by depth defensemen Clayton Stoner and Simon Despres, who met the physical challenge posed by the Jets with their own high volume of hits and rough play. That effort freed up the Ducks' skill players to make a bigger impact.
Boudreau also praised goalie Frederik Andersen, who allowed just nine goals while winning all four games. Andersen entered last season's playoffs as the rookie starter, but got hurt late in an up-and-down first round and lost the job to Jonas Hiller and Gibson in the second round.
"But now I'm starting to mention more than half the team," Boudreau said. "You have to have everybody playing really well if you're ever going to win four in a row in the playoffs."
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