January 19th, 2004, a simpler time. The jerseys, baggy. The goaltenders, bloated. The Flames, loveable. A time when men were men and most of the Edmonton Oilers were teething. This was the date of the last Flames victory in Anaheim.
18-straight games. Some of those were close games with dramatic late-game heartbreaks. Some games, the Flames deserved better but couldn’t beat a hot goalie, or hit too many posts, or were the victim of the hockey gods.
This was not one of those games.
The Ducks are a far better hockey team when all things are equal, let alone when the Flames are missing five regulars and playing on ice that is atop of what surely is the burialground of Kent Nilsson’s ancestors or something.
The Ducks beat the Flames 5-2 and the game was never really in doubt.
Well the first period started fairly even, with both teams trading chances. However, Anaheim struck first with defenceman Sami Vatanen capitalizing on a wildly out of position Berra to open the scoring. Then, as has plagued Berra this whole season, one goal followed another. Corey Perry, untouched in front of the net, tipped in a shot from Ben Lovejoy and made it 2-0 Ducks midway through the frame. The rest of the period was largely controlled by Anaheim and ended up out-shooting the Flames 14-6 at the end of the first. Cammalleri was the only Flame who looked even remotely dangerous in the period with a few shots on net and even was involved in some extracurricular activities with Lovejoy.
The Flames started the second with slightly more energy but were completely unable to generate sustained pressure of any kind in the Ducks zone. Four minutes into the period, Mikael Backlund took a delay of game penalty and Dustin Penner tipped in a slap-pass from Getzlaf to make it 3-0. Berra was caught slightly too high in his crease on the Penner goal and basically gave himself no chance.
Only a couple minutes later, Lance Bouma delivered a nice hit on Lindholm that generated a turnover to the point and noted sniper Ladislav Smid delivered a shot that just squeaked through Frederik Andersen to bring the Flames back within two. However, after the goal, the Ducks returned to controlling play and alternated between hemming the Flames in their own zone and denying them clean entries into Anaheim’s defensive zone.
With 11 minutes left in the second, noted Flames killer Daniel Winnik slide a pass across to survivor of the Oilers organization Andrew Cogliano who somehow chipped it top left corner on Berra to make it 4-1. The Ducks were able to occupy the slot very easily, taking advantage of Berra’s aggressive ‘style’.
Throughout the game, Berra struggled again with positioning and on at least two of the first four Ducks goals, he simply didn’t place himself in the best position to make saves. The Anaheim telecast explicitly mentioned that they didn’t too much care for his style and wondered if that kind of goaltending would be successful in the NHL. However, Berra wasn’t the Flames trailed for the entire game. The Flames lethargy through large stretches of this game didn’t exactly help matters. Not to mention the fact the Ducks are simply a much better team and demonstrated it this game by a significant margin.
With seven minutes to play in the second, David Jones, playing with Backlund and Bouma, was able to take advantage of a Ducks turnover and rifled it home short side with traffic in front of the net, making it 4-2. Full marks to the Flames as after the Jones goal, they were able to generate some good offensive zone pressure to end the period. The Ducks outshot the Flames 29-16 in the second.
The Flames just looked lost and completely outmatched in the third, Dustin Penner fired home a pass from Ryan Getzlaf to make it 5-2 off a mindlessly horrible turnover from Chris Butler. That was it for Berra who had a “meh” night against a very good team. Karri Ramo presumably took the ice without Hartley realizing it and was basically under siege for the remainder of the game.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
The Flames lost because they are not as good, not healthy, and not getting elite goaltending (and even then, they aren’t pulling this one out). The Flames were outshot 42-21 so although Berra wasn’t exactly reminding anyone of Terry Sawchuk tonight, he was hardly the reason for the loss on this occasion.
THE RED WARRIOR
This one isn’t easy. Lance Bouma has generated goals through his forecheck in consecutive games but it is difficult to identify a Flame worthy of this prestigious honour. Let’s go with the Flames’ dads, especially T.J Galiardi’s for rocking the tightey whiteys.
|Home||1||9:38||Penner tip PP||4||10||13||15||17||31||3||11||22||29||44||5v4|
|Home||2||16:08||Penner goal PP||4||6||8||22||31||39||8||24||27||29||43||47||5v5|
|Away||2||14:10||Jones tip goal||13||18||21||31||40||47||3||11||17||29||44||54||5v5|
|Away||2||7:45||Jones goal (screened)||7||11||31||34||40||47||11||17||27||29||43||54||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames drop to 8-13-4 and need to seriously consider an excorcism at the Honda Center. Things don’t get a lot easier tomorrow as they face off against the L.A Kings at the Staples Center at 8 P.M. MT.