A couple weeks back, the Calgary Flames had a good start at home. Then they faded, their opponents surged, and they lost 6-3 at home to the Anaheim Ducks. It was the first time they blew a game after leading through 40 minutes.
Tonight, the Flames allowed two early goals. Bad memories flooded back.
Then they handled the Anaheim Ducks fairly easily the remainder of the way for a 6-3 victory, obtaining some revenge for their last home outing (and a big win against a divisional foe and potential playoff opponent).
The first 20 minutes of this game were some of the wildest of the season. The game began poorly, as David Jones made an ugly cross-zone pass…that was collected by Ryan Getzlaf and put into the net on the game’s first shot. After Brandon Bollig took a penalty during a post-whistle scrum, Getzlaf scored again. On the game’s second shot. Just past the two-minute mark.
However, the tide turned slightly after a Ducks penalty and a Deryk Engelland fight with Patrick Maroon. Calgary had a power-play, and Stajan scored just after the power-play ended, collecting his own rebound after David Jones’ initial chance wasn’t cleared. It looked like a Johnny Gaudreau tip tied the game, but the goal was disallowed due to a high stick. Dennis Wideman took a penalty, and Josh Jooris and Mikael Backlund managed to get the puck deep late in the kill. Johnny Gaudreau hopped off the bench and fired home Jooris’ feed to actually tie the game. Shots were 16-11 for the Flames, despite being almost all Ducks early-on.
The second period was a lot less eventful than the first. However, it did feature a classic Wideman & Russell shift, where they were hemmed into their own zone for an entire two and a half minute segment. The Ducks changed lines twice, and the crowd cheered loudly when the puck was cleared. However, the team did not panic, and soon got the go-ahead goal. Michael Ferland chucked the puck at the net, and Matt Stajan drove the net and tipped it in for his second goal of the game to make it 3-2.
The Ducks then got into penalty trouble. Ryan Getzlaf took a roughing penalty. Sean Monahan scored to make it 4-2. He took a holding penalty five minutes later. Johnny Gaudreau scored his second of the game on a really nice give-and-go with Dennis Wideman after a clean zone entry from Gaudreau. That made it 5-3. The Ducks got a late goal with the teams playing four-on-four, as Hampus Lindholm went top-shelf on Ramo from the high slot with a lot of bodies cluttering the low slot. We hit the intermission with the Flames up by two. Shots were 12-4 Anaheim, meaning Calgary scored three goals on four shots.
The third period was relatively low-event, in the sense that the Flames defended the majority of the period. When they got the puck, they skated to the red line, dumped the puck in, and started it all over again after a line change. They got THREE SHOTS in the period. One of those was from Jiri Hudler, bonking in a Backlund rebound for Calgary’s sixth goal. Shots were 9-3 Anaheim in the third.
It didn’t matter. Calgary won decisively.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Anaheim peaked too early. Way too early.
After getting up two goals, the Ducks sat back and the Flames flipped a switch. Playing like they thought it was the third period already, Calgary spotted themselves a few goals in rapid succession, then were opportunistic as the game went on.
They scored FOUR GOALS ON SEVEN SHOTS OVER THE FINAL 40 MINUTES. It might not be sustainable, but it was certainly a recipe for success.
Also, Calgary got contributions from basically every part of its line-up. The fourth line center had two goals, for crying out loud.
Johnny Gaudreau had a hell of a game. Two goals! Nearly 20 minutes of ice-time! Three shots! And he also drew a penalty that led to a goal on the ensuing power-play.
And stick-taps to Matt Stajan (two goals) and Karri Ramo (29 saves).
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames have improved themselves to 37-25-5 over the past 67 games. They have 79 points.
They need 8 or 9 more wins to get themselves into the playoffs. It’s not guaranteed, but with 10 games left against teams below them in the standings, they’ve certainly given themselves a bit of breathing room in the jam-packed Western Conference.