The Calgary Flames did so much positive Sunday night in Anaheim, erasing a three goal deficit and being in a position to come away with a massive regulation win. Instead, a late powerplay goal from Teemu Selanne sent this game to overtime before the Ducks were able to use a Toni Lydman winner for another crucial victory. It’s a disappointing 5-4 loss for Calgary, and it makes tomorrow’s game in Los Angeles even more important.
This one got off the rails in a really quick way, with the Ducks scoring just 78 seconds into the first period thanks to their captain. Ryan Getzlaf took a perfect pass from Corey Perry at 1:18 which was good for Getlzaf’s 18th of the season which lead quickly to an Anaheim powerplay. This time it was Perry on the doorstep at 3:36, banging home his 38th on the year for a quick 2-0 lead, which swelled to 3-0 at 5:49. With a delayed penalty coming to Calgary, Francois Beauchemin just put the puck on net from the point and it eluded Miikka Kiprusoff, and this game looked to be getting out of hand. Head Coach Brent Sutter essentially would call a timeout following the third goal, making a goaltending switch and sending Henrik Karlsson off the bench, and you wondered if maybe it would spark the Flames like it has before. Well, it did, and against a team that allows a lot of shots and a lot of zone time, Calgary would start to chip away, first at 18:52 of the first period with Tom Kostopoulos finishing a great shift with a slap shot goal beating Dan Ellis. Matt Stajan made the pass, and he, Jackman and Kostopoulos really seemed to spark the team with that goal, as the Flames were down 3-1 after 20.
Calgary really started to tilt things in the second period, and they’d end up on the plus side of the scoring chance count overall, and with a couple of rewards on those scoring chances. At 8:04, the Flames were able to take advantage of a poor defensive play from Beauchemin, which allowed Curtis Glencross to take the puck down low and fire a pass from the corner to the front of the net; a charging Rene Bourque would convert his 25th on the season to make this a one goal game. At 16:44, this game was tied, after Kostopoulos would tip home a Steve Staios shot from the point, and after a span of some really good hockey, Calgary was rewarded with a tie game heading to the third period.
The final frame saw the Flames take their first lead on the powerplay, on a very patient play from Jarome Iginla, ripping a shot home from the left circle and putting the visitors ahead by a goal, and playing very well in the process. Calgary had been the better team at even strength for much of this game, and it had given them a deserved lead. And then some penalty trouble. Matt Stajan would take a hooking call at 12:12, but the Flames would kill off the Anaheim powerplay, but you almost knew Rene Bourque’s interference call at 16:58 was going to come back and bite them. And it did. Teemu Selanne would tip home a Getzlaf shot, and a second powerplay goal for the Ducks had this game off to overtime.
Calgary had a glorious chance to put the game away when Iginla was sprung on a breakaway, but he wasn’t able to fully corral the bouncing puck and was thwarted by Ellis. Karlsson got in on the thrwarting act, as Steve Staios would haul down Bobby Ryan on a breakaway, earning a penalty shot; a penalty shot that Hank would stop rather easily. And then four seconds later, Lydman ended the game with his fourth, dealing the Flames a pretty crushing loss.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Their start. Plain and simple, after the midway mark of the first period (when it was already 3-0 Ducks), Calgary started to take this game over 5-on-5. They came all the way back and had themselves a lead, but this would have been a rather easy win for the Flames had they not been complete garbage to open things up. In the end, their start killed them.
He goes Nonstopoulos everybody…Tom Kostopoulos made it a career night, with two goals and an assist, and really doing a nice job to help spark the Calgary comeback. I’ve said it a few times, eating crow along the way, but the move that brought TK and Anton Babchuk in from Carolina has turned out to be a resounding success, regardless if Babchuk is back next season.
Sum It Up
It’s a pretty big loss, as we update the elimination number for the Flames…
Elimination Number: 7.5
Right now, that E number factors in both the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks. Overall, there were a lot of positive things for the Flames on this night, but a poor start and a late penalty denied them an opportunity to come away with a crucial regulation win. The Kings aren’t going to be easy tomorrow, as they’ve been playing some darn good hockey as of late.
Note: Curtis Glencross also set a career high on this night, with two points pushing him to 41 on the season.