Post-Game: The Pond Curse Lives

For the 22nd straight regular season trip to the Honda Center (former the Arrowhead Pond), the Calgary Flames lost to the Anaheim Ducks.

What went wrong this time? The Flames played fairly well through the first two periods, and then the Ducks pulled away early in the third by taking advantage of some Flames defensive miscues. They won handily by a 5-2 score.

THE RUNDOWN

The opening frame was, to be blunt, ugly and one-sided. The Flames were out-shot 10-5 (9-1 at even-strength, which just….yikes) and out-attempted 30-12 (21-4 at even-strength). They did a decent job at minimizing the damage Anaheim could do, but with about five minutes left in the opening frame they seemed to get caught in an ugly sequence of “Hey, let’s all block shots instead of playing good defense,” Lance Bouma got hurt blocking a shot, and Patrick Maroon beat Jonas Hiller under his arm for the game’s opening goal in the ensuing chaos.

After weathering an early storm from the Ducks in the second, the
Flames battled back. Ryan Kesler made it 2-0 Anaheim mid-way through
the period on a really nice, long passing sequence in the Flames
zone. However, the Flames seemed to get their act together after that
goal and generated some chances of their own. On a late power-play
Johnny Gaudreau made a gorgeous back-pass to the point, giving Mark
Giordano a great lane to power home a shot and make it 2-1. Shots
were 9-9 in the second, and attempts were 19-19.

However, the Ducks imposed their will on the Flames early in the
third period. 16 seconds in, the Ducks made it 3-1 off a Ryan Getzlaf
feed from David Perron (who stole the puck from Dougie Hamilton). A few minutes later, Ryan Kesler fought off Deryk Engelland and beat Hiller to make it 4-1. They stretched their lead to 5-1 on a late power-play off a point shot from Kevin Bieksa. The Flames finally responded with a Mikael Backlund goal in the final minute of regulation, but the Ducks still had a three-goal lead and couldn’t have cared less at that point. Shots were 14-10 for Anaheim and attempts were 21-20 for the Ducks as well. If there were score effects here, I shudder to think of how one-sided this could’ve gotten.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Gaudreau 48.72% 86.67%
Monahan 47.62% 76.47%
Hamilton 43.18% 75%
Ferland 48% 75%
Hudler 60.71% 70%
Bennett 52.38% 60%
Nakladal 77.78% 57.14%
Giordano 39.22% 55%
Brodie 36.36% 50%
Jones 44% 50%
Engelland 27.08% 45.45%
Wotherspoon 61.54% 41.67%
Bouma 26.92% 33.33%
Stajan 26.67% 30%
Backlund 46.88% 28.57%
Bollig 40% 25%
Colborne 37.93% 20%
Frolik 40.91% 14.29%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Because it’s Anaheim.

Nah, they lost because the Ducks were able to play their type of game, kept the Flames largely to the outside (or hemmed them into their own end), and because the Ducks were always able to get the proverbial “next goal.” Down by one goal heading into the third? Boom, Ducks score. Need a quick response to get back into the game? Boom, Ducks score again. The Flames just couldn’t get the “next goal,” and the Ducks always could.

It also helps that the Ducks are an incredibly deep team with last change.

Also, pour a 40 out for Engelland, because those are some horrendous possession numbers – even taking into account the guys he was out there against.

RED WARRIOR

It’s hard on a night like this, but let’s go with Johnny Gaudreau. He could’ve had a couple goals tonight but got unlucky with posts and whatnot. And he was superb on Giordano’s goal.

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

The Flames remain five points up on the last place Leafs and Oilers, and 10 points back of Nashville for the last Western Conference wild-card spot.

They’re sixth-last in the NHL.

UP NEXT

The Flames (26-29-3) get a day off tomorrow in SoCal to lick their wounds, and then they face off against the Pacific Division’s top team right now, the Los Angeles Kings.

  • DestroDertell

    When will Tank Commander Bob Hartley realise his “always attempt transitional passes” gameplan will never work against the Ducks?

    Hopefully not until the draft.

  • RKD

    Feels like it will take a miracle to beat them in Anaheim, the game gets away on them and that’s it. Hamilton and Engelland really struggled out there and Monahan didn’t have a good game.

  • calgaryfan

    Hard to watch. The Flames have too many not wanting any part of the Ducks physical play. They need more like Giordano who has a high compete level and wants to win. Colbourne and Monahan play like they are intimidated by the Ducks.

    • King Quong

      I agree it seems that Monahan didn’t carry over that physical edge he had in junior I seem to remember him throwing the body more and even fighting in junior. Wish he had a little more edge in his game some times.

      • King Quong

        Never mind only can find him having one ohl fight although I seen to remember seeing him having at least two fights in a highlight video i saw before we drafted him.

  • RedMan

    Hartly was in full experiment mode with all the line mixers, if you ask me that is all I needed to see to know where he is coming from. I think its going to be an interesting run to the bottom. I have no problem with the game or the loss. Enjoyed the game actually.

  • Rockmorton65

    Have you all read Hartley’s new book, How to Tank Without Looking Like You’re Tanking? Some of my favorite chapters are “Letting a Bad Goalie “Work Through His Struggles””, “Line Juggling to Disrupt Chemistry”, “Continuing to Use the Stretch Pass Long After the Opposition Catches On”, “Overplaying the Bottom Half of Your Roster” and my personal favorite, “Always Tell the Fans and Media – “Always Earned, Never Given””

    Check it out. Great stress reducer.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      But didn’t this same book have Hartley on the stage last year in Las Vegas to receive the Coach of the Year award? The suckers in Cowtown bought it hook, line, sinker and pole because Hartley was also given a generous contract extension last year and opinion polls just prior to the extension showed Hartley was tied with Mayor Nenshi and Ralph the Dog for Most Popular Calgarian.

      • Rockmorton65

        Oh no, it’s just come out in the last month or so.

        You’re thinking of his last book, “Lottery Be Damned; How To Make the Playoffs Without a First Overall Pick”.

      • RedMan

        Flames fans in “Cowtown” do not vote for coach of the year… so not sure what you mean that they bought it hook line and sinker.

        Did we enjoy the year? of course – We enjoyed a fun year of rebuilding, the second fun year in a row.

        Nice when your team is rebuilding and still fun to watch.

  • Denscafon

    Just realized that backlund has had 8 points in the last 8 games (6 goals and 2 assists). Even though the team is sucking, I’m glad at least the Backlund/frolik combo has come to fruition.

  • the forgotten man

    If keslers 4th goal pickpocket isn’t proof enough, Engelland has no business on an nhl blueline….bury this guy in Stockton already. Penguins paid the guy a half mill a year for like 5 seasons for a reason, but our crack management team gives him his ‘freedom 35’ deal at 3 mill a year…to meet the cap floor 2 years ago we could have burnt that money on some sentient goaltending. Funny how BB built such a solid foundation in Toronto and is now working his magic in Calgary too.

  • Flaymin Frank

    Had the displeasure of streaming this game from down under. Turned it off after the 1st period when it was obvious the flames can’t counter the Duck’s cycle and win puck battles down low.

    The pp is basically about getting the puck to a prime shooting location and taking the the shot. It’s not about displaying your ability to make 10 passes and then giving yourself a 4 inch tap in putt. Frustrating to watch a player trying to pass thru the box when there’s multiple bodies and sticks blocking the lane.

    Regardless – GFG.

  • McRib

    Joe Colborne had a CorsiFor of 37.93%. Good to see he is starting back up with his 4-5 game skid after his obligatory one good game (in Vancouver) every 5-6 games to stay in Hartley’s good graces. Like normal we can now expect him to go on a 4-5 game horrific stretch of play now, where he isnt even an NHLer.

  • Jake the Snail

    Flames are trying to showcase Hiller for a trade before the TDL, but Hiller refuses to cooperate!

    As Howie Meeker used to say, “(the goalie) was on the ice looking for dimes!”. As I recall, Hiller was on the ice before the shot was taken on all the goals against the ducks.

  • Justthateasy

    Is Monahan ever going to shoot again? All this passing and then lose the puck. We will never out finesse or out muscle the Ducks. I guess they forgot they have to get the puck on net. Gee, it might go straight in or deflect in or there might be a rebound or there might be flurry. Or it might get caught. There you go boys; at least a 4 in 5 chance.