March 30 2011 11:22PM
In their final game this season against a team within their reach, the Calgary Flames saw their season all-but-mathematically slip away against a team they just couldn't beat all season. Corey Perry showed why he's in the Hart Trohpy conversation, leading the way in a 4-2 Anaheim Ducks win over the Flames. Needing to win out down the stretch was not the ideal situation, but it's the situation they were in...and not surprisingly, that didn't happen.
it was a pretty good start for Calgary, getting things going at 2:58 with the captain taking a pass from Alex Tanguay and sniping his 37th past Ray Emery from the right circle. Jarome Iginla found a seem and made no mistake, and you can't deny he's produced a whole lot more down this years stretch than he did last year. But the Flames got into some penalty trouble shortly thereafter, with Ales Kotalik and Robyn Regehr taking minors in short succession. While the Ducks weren't able to score on the 5-on-3, Bobby Ryan found a way to put a wraparound past Miikka Kiprusoff at the tail end of the man advantage to tie things at one. On another powerplay, this time a Mikael Backlund slashing call, Corey Perry would park his ass in front of Kiprusoff and tip home a Cam Fowler shot at 15:40; Perry's touch was good for his 45th of the season and a 2-1 Ducks lead after 20. The first period was all Anaheim, with scoring chances heavily favoring them on a 10-2 count, with lots of those coming on the PP.
The second period was all Calgary, and yet, they'd finish without anything to show for it. Well, unless you count a real sour taste in your mouth. Late in the middle frame, with Luca Sbisa in the penalty box, the Flames looked to have scored, with Tom Kostopoulos making a nice move to the front of the net before Tim Jackman and/or Matt Stajan seemed to bang it home. But with the puck floating around the goal line, and floating around Emery, the official apparently lost sight of it and didn't signal it a goal. After a lengthyyyyyyyyyyyyy review, it was called a no-goal...and well...I'll let the discussion carry on below, as it also seemed Ryan Getzlaf closed his hand on the puck in the crease. To add fuel to the fire, after a contraversial call, Lubomir Visnovsky would score with 69 seconds remaining in the second, a fluky shot from the right point that found it's way in. Anaheim took a 3-1 lead into the third.
Aaaaand cue the make up calls. With Brad Winchester in the box for a call at the end of the second period, Toni Lydman would take a hooking call 19 seconds in, and Calgary would cash on the two man advantage. Taking a pass from Iginla, Mark Giordano fired one from the point for his 8th of the season and a much closer hockey game. Calgary would get one more powerplay in the period, and maybe a few more chances, but Perry's second of the night sealed it into an empty net, as the Ducks threw up the shell and it worked very well for them, en route to a 4-2 win.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames lost? Yeah, the seemingly blown call on the goal hurt this team, the fact of the matter is, Calgary wasn't great tonight. They didn't show a ton of urgency and they didn't do a whole lot to force the issue in the most important game of the year. Calgary generated just one even strength scoring chance in the third period, and only three overall...and were not very strong in the first period either. Just not a whole lot to see for the Flames, and they lost to a pretty good team.
I'll go Mark Giordano, as there were a few times on this night where you said to yourself "does the guy have to do everything himself?" He's a good defenceman, he played well and was consistent all night. Add on top of that, Giordano had a two point night, including an important goal on the powerplay in the third period.
Sum It Up
Well, let's update things...
Elimination Number: 2.5
It just is not pretty for the Calgary Flames. That elimination number is just too low with only four games to go, and with more games to go for the teams they're chasing. The Flames can get to just 95 points on the season, and the Chicago Blackhawks need only five points to get to that same mark. On this night, it wasn't meant to be, as Calgary had some good possession but couldn't turn it into chances on a regular basis. The moral would be...don't put yourself in a spot where you need to win out, because more times than not, you probably won't.