Playoff Post-Game: More Pain At The Pond

The Calgary Flames hit the ice for Game 2 of their series with the Anaheim Ducks hoping for a better on-ice performance and a win to draw even in the series. They played better, much better in fact, than they did in Game 1, but they fell all the same by a 3-0 score to the Ducks.

The Flames head home down 2-0, with two games at the Saddledome available to potentially draw the series even. (Or to get swept.)

THE RUNDOWN

After a wildly one-sided Game 1, the Ducks came out strong once again. They used their speed and size and last change to take advantage of as many Flames defensive miscues as possible. If you like watching two-on-ones, you were in luck. If you think the Flames really shouldn’t be giving up that many two-on-ones, you’re probably right. Matt Beleskey finally beat Karri Ramo mid-way through the period to make it 1-0 for the home side. The Flames then took a pair of penalties to seemingly ensure that the Ducks would have the lead heading into the intermission. Shots were 20-9 for Anaheim in the opening period.

After a flat first period, Calgary’s second period was probably the best they’ve had since this series began. They narrowly out-shot the Ducks by a 12-9 margin, but the Flames really couldn’t bury any of their chances. A lot of chances were set up nicely off clean zone entries, but the Ducks did a very effective job keeping the Flames to the outside, and the chances they did get commonly hit ankles, feet or were whiffed on.

The Flames continued to press in the third, but the Ducks maintained their defensive shell – albeit one with active sticks and the ability to get into lanes to break up Flames chances. Hampus Lindholm beat Karri Ramo over the shoulder on a really nice shot mid-way through the period that found a path between Deryk Engelland, T.J. Brodie and Ramo and in to make it 2-0. The Flames pulled the goalie and couldn’t get a goal, and Nate Thompson scored in an empty net to make it 3-0 and ice it. Shots were 9-5 Calgary in the third period.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Well, the Anaheim Ducks were markedly better in the first 20 minutes of this hockey game, got a lead, and were able to hold on to win the second game of this series.

The Flames were pretty damn good, all-told, but they weren’t quite good enough to get the proverbial “next goal” that they needed, and the Ducks were good enough to get the “next goal” and win.

RED WARRIOR

Karri Ramo made 31 saves. He was the best Flame in the first period. He was one of the better Flames in the last 40 minutes, too. His strong play allowed the Flames to get their legs under them and gave them a chance to win.

SUM IT UP

The Flames now trail this second round series by a 2-0 margin. They head back to Calgary for Game 3, which goes Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Flames did a bunch of good things tonight. Hopefully they can expand upon those good things on Tuesday, otherwise their stay in the playoffs may be growing short.

  • Agent Orange

    Never say die boys! I am confident in our fans rallying the troops to take two at the dome! The game tonight showed the ducks are human, we had some good sequences, just have to break through. We’ve been the find a way flames all year, you can’t call this over yet!

    • Burnward

      Had to break them up, probably. Hudler looks hurt, Johnny is getting eaten alive on the boards. They were getting run over.

      At home, with last change I bet we see them back together.

  • RKD

    They did not have a good start, too many odd man rushes. If it were not for Ramo, the Ducks could have easily been up by a few goals. However, the Flames came out better in the second period and the third period but they just could not score. The Flames need to a get some dirty, greasy goals. Too many shots from the perimeter, we need to make it way tougher on Andersen because if he sees it he will stop it. I still think we are far from seeing the real Flames team. I hope they win in game 3 at home, they haven’t lost at home yet in the playoffs. Hartley will get the matchups he wants. Maybe we have both Diaz and Ferland in the lineup.

    • prendrefeu

      I appreciate your optimism.

      The Flames played better from the 2nd period onward until that goal which put the Ducks up 2, and from there it didn’t quite fall apart yet it wasn’t as it had been going previously. It seemed like Hartley had the team changing their approach towards the Ducks and being far more aggressive on the forecheck, disrupting passes and almost ‘nagging’ the Ducks like gnat flies. It seemed to be effective, whatever can be effective against such a strong team like the Ducks, in that the Flames did generate take aways turning them into more shots on net and stifling the Ducks ability to get out of their zone as easily as they had been doing before.

      Maybe this second game can offer some lessons for the coaching staff to take back into the ‘Dome atmosphere to give the team a more competitive place against the Ducks.

      Also: what’s the current status of our injured players, both the ones that are hurting and the ones already on the IR ?

  • I guess all we can say is that it was better. Not great but better.

    It could have been closer without a couple very good saves by Andersen. Then again, it would have been another blow out without a couple nice saves from Ramo. Hopefully the luck is at the Dome and Hartley has some magic up his sleeves.

    GFG!!

  • BigMcD

    I little train that could seems maybe they can’t .better game than game one and still lost 3-0. Clock is about to strike midnight.Anaheim is to big for Calgary’s small forwards.

  • BigMcD

    The Flames are down 2-0, so are the Habs who started at home; which is the greater failure. A team like the Flames that were not expected to be even in the hunt at the start of the year or the Habs who went to the semi finals last year and have a world class goalie?

    This play off series for the Flames is a learning experience for the players, coaching staff, the GM, the entire organization and us the fans. There are still a number of pieces missing and a lot of work to be done. Keep believing never quite buy take it for what it really is. Tuesdays game will be closer.

    Also folks please remember to vote before you get to comfortable watching the game.

  • MattyFranchise

    Looking at our defense for next year, I wonder if Morrison makes the team out of training camp. I’d like to see some youth on the team next year, and not sure if Wotherspoon can be that guy. I had hoped he would be, but he sure hasn’t been given the opportunity.
    Also I wonder what Smid’s role will be going forward..still under contract for another 2 seasons.

  • everton fc

    Something’s got to be done. This relying on 4 defenseman is really wearing thin on me.
    Can Gio stay healthy for more than 60 games next season? It seems like this is a huge question mark for him..
    I don’t know if Schlemko or Diaz get resigned after the season either.. I am kind of ambivalent to resigning either. They aren’t trusted so what’s the point, though depth on D is always a concern. Only young guys I see are Morrison and Wotherspoon. I think Morrison could definitely be something..if he gets the opportunity

    • wot96

      Hartley likes having three defencmen as big minute eaters with the other three spelling them off. He won a cup doing that. If they can stay healthy, Flames do have two of the three they need. Engelland ain’t it.

      They do need a big bodied by mobile defenceman to attend to some of these larger forwards. Brodie, God bless him, isn’t slowing them down enough and I am not sure even Gio can really handle Getzlaff and Corey in full beast mode.

      CP is right. This is experience and it will help next year and the year after.

    • everton fc

      One of Ramo or Hiller will get moved for a 3-4 d-man. I think Ramo would snare a decent return.

      I can’t comment on Wotherspoon, as I’ve only been able to listen to the games on radio, but he isn’t getting minutes. So there must be concern, as Wolf got massive TOI last evening for his skill set. Just my opinion.

      Of Schlemko vs. Diaz, it’s a tough call. Schlemko’s younger. Diaz has found a niche here, and may be the better #7 man, but he’s older. Either/or would be okay as a #7 d-man.

      I can’t see them moving away from Engelland as a #6 d-man. Perhaps he becomes the #7 d-man next season, or gets moved off-season. Who knows…

      Gio/Brodie/Wideman/Russell are a good quad of d-man. Morrison excites many, but is still a stretch. You move Ramo or Hiller for a 3/4 d-man and maybe one of Morrison/Engelland/Diaz/Schlemko slots in at #6. Or Wotherspoon. Remember, this is a rebuild. We are far ahead of schedule. And lets face it, many of the guys mentioned (Diaz/Schelmko/Wotherspoon, along with forwards like Bollig, Raymond) are the kind of guys you find on an expansion roster.

      And I’ll say it again; get Eric Roy on an ELC. Or sign him to an AHL contract. He’s got raw talent. Lots to work with.

      • Ramo has no value as a pending UFA. Doubt you get anything for his rights.

        Spoon has played as well as you can expect, but he is better suited against a team like the Nucks; he isn’t a heavy hitter. Kanzig would be a better option against the Ducks. Or Ramage.

        Sign Diaz and Schlemko, but alternate them in/out of lineup. Spoon isn’t ready, but could replace either of them sometime next season. Same with Morrison. The AHL team could have a lot of decent D-men building their game; Culkin, Roy, Hathaway, Morrison, Spoon, Ramage, Rafikov, Kanzig.

        We are building prospects that could be the next wave to replace Russell, Wideman, Engelland, Diaz/Schlemko. It takes time until they are at their peak.

        • everton fc

          I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see them move Hiller and go with Ramo/Ortio next season. I agree with the rest of your post, but Kanzig and Ramage won’t stop the Ducks. We are simply exposed due to injuries on the backend. Great teams with successful coaches find ways to exploit situations like this…

          “Happens”…

  • Burnward

    Getz/Perry/Kesler: 2003 draft.

    That’s the difference guys, a decade of world class experience over our boys. And with LA out, they have to think this is their shot maybe.

    But, our guys are learning what it takes though. Every team has to face the best before they can become the best.

    Still hoping for a little more magic though!

    Go Flames Go!

    • everton fc

      Spot-on. The experience we will gain – from t the players to the front office, in terms of what type of players make the type of team that can win often this day and age – will be the real fruit of this playoff run.

    • You would know a thing or two about garbage draft picks…

      Gagner, Yakupov, Draisaitl, Paajarvi, Omark, Nurse, and Shultz have worked out so well for you guys.

      Thanks for passing up on Bennett by the way.

  • Hiller is the goalie to trade moving forward.

    I’d also look at selling high on Wideman as he’s had a career year and won’t repeat it.

    Hilarious how fans of teams playing golf are chirping a team that’s in the second round of the playoffs. Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.