Tonight, the Calgary Flames entered the third period in an enviable position.
They were up a goal, at home. Game over, right? Nope. Because the Flames, the NHL’s best third period comeback team, were facing the top team in the Pacific…and the NHL’s second-best third period comeback team.
After surrendering five goals in the final frame in one of the worst frames of hockey they’ve played in a while, the Calgary Flames lost their first game all season after leading through 40 minutes, by a 6-3 score.
Here’s how it all fell apart at the Saddledome tonight.
The Flames may have had their best first period of 2015 tonight. They were engaged, both physically and emotionally. They put pucks on net, threw some hits and were generally active in all three zones. The Ducks took a pair of penalties in rapid succession – including an ugly cross-check into the numbers by Clayton Stoner on Johnny Gaudreau that drew a crowd – but their five-on-three advantaged generated zero official shots and zero official goals. However, the fourth line opened the scoring: they dumped the puck in after a defensive zone start, Colborne stole the puck after a hit and his subsequent shot rebounded out to Matt Stajan, who bonked it out of mid-air to make it 1-0. Shots were 11-9 overall for Calgary, though the Ducks held a slight 9-8 advantage at even-strength.
The second period was a tale of two chunks of the game. In the first chunk, the Flames continued their strong play from the first period. They threw some hits, Dennis Wideman kept the puck in on a sloppy clearing attempt at the point and Lance Bouma tipped in Wideman’s shot from the blueline, making it 2-0. After that, though, the Ducks realized they were down two goals on the road and put on their working boots. The Ducks generated a lot of rubber on Jonas Hiller and a lot of time in the Calgary zone. To their credit, the Flames generated a few gorgeous chances of their own – including the ultra-rare 4-on-1 and a 3-on-1 where a Curtis Glencross feed beside the net went through Markus Granlund’s skates. However, the Ducks broke the goose-egg on wonky play; Corey Perry put the puck on net and it appears that the rebound bounced in off Cogliano. Either way, the period ended with a 2-1 score. The Ducks led the way in shots overall (16-8) and even-strength shots (14-7), doubling Calgary in both categories.
And then the wheels fell off in the third period.
After a few scrambles back and forth early on, Cogliano fed Francois Beauchemin with a gorgeous pass out front as the Ducks rush completely backed Diaz and Engelland (and the other Flames) towards their own net. That tied it. A few minutes later, Ryan Getzlaf teed one up after a lengthy shift in the Flames zone. The puck went wide, bounced off the back boards and in off Hiller to make it 3-2. A few minutes later, Dennis Wideman and Mikael Backlund corralled the puck in their own end and played a game of “Who’s got the puck?” In the confusion, Kyle Palmieri stole the puck and put it past Hiller to make it 4-2. A few minutes later, Jakob Silfverberg made it 5-2 and the rout was officially on. The Flames finally ended the run of unanswered goals with a 6-on-4 power-play – with Hiller pulled – as Sean Monahan scored his 20th, but it was too late. Hampus Lindholm added an empty netter to make it 6-3 final. Shots were 13-9 Ducks overall in the final frame and
13-3 at even-strength. Ouch.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST TERRIBLY
They were completely unable to bury the Ducks when the chances came to them, and the Ducks were completely willing and able to bury them when the chances were on the other side.
And that third period was one of the most one-sided, scary-bad periods of ice hockey this team has played, perhaps in the last two seasons.
This was a tough call.
Lance Bouma scored a goal, so let’s go with him. On a night where most of the Flames were deep into the minuses, Bouma both played a lot and was even in the plus/minus ledger.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
After playing some of their worst hockey of the season, the Calgary Flames (32-23-4) hit the road for a long, long seven-game road trip that’ll take them to such exotic locales as New York, New Jersey, and the trade deadline!
The team’s off tomorrow for their annual poker tournament before hitting the practice ice on Sunday and beginning to prepare for their next opponent, the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Manhattan.