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.)
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.
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.