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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Discipline drives Ducks in Game 1

The Calgary Flames came into the Honda Center as the decided underdogs in their first round series with the Anaheim Ducks. They’re a wildcard team and the Ducks are a division winner. They’re young and relatively inexperienced, while the Ducks have played a lot of playoff hockey. The Ducks have seemed to play with maturity and poise down the stretch, while the Flames seemed to wilt at times.

Well, the teams were what we thought they would be in Game 1. The Flames took a bunch of undisciplined penalties that sapped them of momentum at the wrong times. Anaheim took the opening game of the series by a 3-2 score on the back of a pair of power play goals and a horrendous second period line change by the Flames.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames started off their playoff year poorly. Within the first minute, Dougie Hamilton had taken an undisciplined tripping penalty after he stopped skating after calling the Ducks for a too many men violation. Unfortunately for him, the officials assigned to this game didn’t see a violation and he scrambled to get back into the play by hauling a Duck down. A point shot from Ryan Getzlaf deflected off Deryk Engelland five seconds into the power play and beat Brian Elliott to make it 1-0 Ducks just 52 seconds into the game. Ruh-roh.

Calgary clawed back, though. A nice shift from the 3M Line with a ton of pressure led to Michael Frolik drawing a slash from Ondrej Kase. After T.J. Brodie deftly intercepted an attempted clearing pass, a shot from the side boards from Kris Versteeg was redirected by Sean Monahan to make it 1-1.

Shots were 17-9 Anaheim in the first period. Combined, the teams had 6:20 of power play time in the period, and the period lacked much flow because of all the penalty calls.

It was a really tight second period, with both teams cutting out a lot of the hacking and whacking that characterized the first period. The Flames actually took a lead midway through the period, with some nice puck management by Hamilton and Versteeg leading to a really nice goal. Versteeg made a nice no-look back-pass to Sam Bennett for a tap-in in the slot to make it 2-1 Calgary.

But because it was Calgary in Anaheim, the lead did not last. A horrendous line change by the Bennett line (and the Deryk Engelland/Matt Bartkowski defensive pairing) led to a three-on-none break for the Ducks. Getzlaf’s initial shot was saved by a sprawling Elliott, but Rickard Rakell got a gimme on the rebound to make it 2-2.

Immediately after the tying goal, Hamilton took another minor penalty. The Flames killed it off, but on the ensuing offensive zone rush Lance Bouma barrelled into John Gibson and took a goalie interference minor. That led to a lengthy Ducks power play shift with roughly 1:20 of sustained pressure, culminating with Jakub Silfverberg beating Elliott with a shot between Michael Stone’s legs – with a potential partial screen from Stone – to make it 3-2 Anaheim. Shots were 13-11 Anaheim in the second.

Neither team scored in the third. The Flames couldn’t generate much of a push at even strength, but gained some momentum from a successful penalty kill late in the period. The Ducks took a pair of successive penalties in the late third and the Flames had a 1:14 five-on-three and then a lengthy power play with Elliott on the bench for the extra attacker. They couldn’t generate very much, with most of their shot attempts coming from the point. That was as close as they got. Shots were 12-11 Calgary in the third period.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

There are two big reasons.

First, the Flames took way too many penalties. They gave Anaheim seven power plays and those advantages led to two Ducks goals. That’s way too many, and often came at the wrong times and sapped the Flames of crucial momentum.

Second, the Flames special teams were pretty rough. Their penalty kill gave up two goals – one off a deflection by a defender and one off a partial screen – and they seemed to hang back and let Anaheim hold onto the puck on the perimeter. Anaheim never seemed scared that the Flames would pressure them, steal the puck and go the other way. But man, the Flames had a golden opportunity to tie the game late with 74 seconds of five-on-three time and they generated basically nothing. That’s completely unacceptable.

THE TURNING POINT

There’s a few possibilities, but I’ll narrow it down to two.

Bouma’s penalty was a dumb penalty to take at the precise wrong time. The Flames were reeling after the bad change led to the tying goal. Then they seemed to gain some momentum back with a nice penalty kill on Hamilton’s second penalty. Bouma’s minor set them back on their heels and Silfverberg’s goal put them right on their backsides.

But again, when you have a lengthy two man advantage, on the road, in the playoffs, in a one goal game, you need to score. And if you don’t score, you better make the goalie look like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur had a goaltending child and he used supernatural powers to keep the puck out. They had a tremendous opportunity to draw even and the game was theirs for the taking: they didn’t take it.

RED WARRIOR

Elliott made 38 saves and basically stood on his head for the whole game. The three goals against he gave up were: a tip off Engelland’s stick, a three-on-none rebound, and a shot between Stone’s legs with a likely partial screen. He didn’t really have a chance on any of ’em.

Honourable mention to Micheal Ferland, who had seven shots and was a force when he was on the ice.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data via Natural Stat Trick.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 73.3 90.0 1.765
Ferland 72.4 89.0 1.175
Gaudreau 71.4 90.0 1.050
Brodie 69.4 70.0 1.450
Stone 64.1 70.0 0.875
Brouwer 60.0 16.7 0.460
Hamilton 51.1 23.8 0.150
Engelland 50.0 50.0 0.075
Bouma 50.0 0.0 -0.075
Giordano 48.7 25.0 0.225
Chiasson 48.2 40.0 0.175
Bennett 48.2 40.0 0.800
Stajan 46.7 0.0 0.005
Backlund 46.7 26.7 -0.145
Versteeg 46.2 40.0 1.480
Tkachuk 44.0 21.4 -0.050
Bartkowski 42.9 44.4 -0.075
Frolik 37.9 21.4 -0.290
Elliott 1.550

THIS AND THAT

Ferland had seven shots on goal, the most of any player in this game. He had no power play time. Zero minutes, zero seconds.

UP NEXT

The Flames practice tomorrow and try to tie the series up on Saturday night. Game 2 goes at 8:30 p.m. on the CBC.

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  • Raffydog

    I don’t understand how the coach can bench Guadreau, he’s a proven playoff performer, and makes 7 million a year, and you have him sitting in the press box! what’s wrong with this guy?

    • Connor Mcdavid 1

      money has nothing to do with being benched or not dummie o. if he isn’t playin well others who are playing well will play more minutes.. I bet 24 hours ago you were a huge Justin beiber fan or what ever the name is of your coach. typical

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Heya Arminius, Kenboner and all you other Flamers that were trolling on Oilersnation last night… How does that tall glass of Shut-The-F*ck-Up taste? Lol…

    Seriously though – we need a BOA in the second round.. Flames need to learn how to win in Anaheim… Hope they can bring it on Saturday.

  • Pizanno

    We have no counter for Getzlaf.
    Engelland was…disappointing.
    Johnny thought it was Christmas.
    Hopefully lessons were learned for game 2. However I don’t think it’ll be as close. This was their chance.

    • Alberta Ice

      Getzlaf is a beast on ice. I hope the Flames did learn their lessons. Eliminate that last 6 minutes of the 2nd period, and we probably could have won. I am more hopeful now for game 2, especially if Elliot plays as good or better than last night

  • BlueMoonNigel

    My keys to victory for the Flames last night and every night of this series are the same: stay out of the sin bin and don’t let old baldy be Matt Helm in “The Wrecking Crew.” Flames did neither and are now sucking the hind teat.

    As for their inability to win in Anaheim, I have got the solution and it doesn’t involve performing bestial indignities to either Donald or Daffy Duck or the destruction of a Honda, but first a question: Which brothers have dashed the dreams of Calgary Flames and Stamps fans for a whole lot of years now? You know the answer.

    The solution is to instead of letting the Getzlaf brothers plough your teams, get a Getzlaf to do your ploughing for you. Obviously, Ryan isn’t going to be a Flame until he’s about 40 and wearing one of them Brian Bellows’ wigs. Chris remains a FA whom Huffer refuses to sign either out of spite or the misplaced belief that Tony “Dropsy” Parker will actually figure it out one of these days.

    If today’s headline reads, “Stamps Sign Getzlaf,” tomorrow’s headline will proclaim, “Flames Anaheim Jinx Over.” Book it.

    That being done, the Flames still won’t win the series if they treat the penalty box as their home away home and let Getzlaf rock and roll as when he is allowed to do that, the Flames rock and reel.

  • kid presentable

    Darren Haynes‏ @DarrenWHaynes 22 minutes ago
    Ferland had 7 shots on goal (next closest Flame had 3), was dangerous all night, yet played only 27 seconds of the game’s final 9+ minutes.

    ferland got the same time as bouma this game. incredibly stupid usage from gulutzan. it’s bad enough he tries to throw bartkowski/engelland out there very second shift, but he’s also got to play tkachuk and bennett 12 minutes. even with the horrible usage, they could have won this game if not for a completely unforced mental error, and if they could ever score on a 5 on 3. frustrating game

    • Lombardi

      Probably because they flames at 14 min of PK and Boumas a better play there than Ferly. Feel positive about he 5v5 %s…. but MAN DO I EVER HATE THE DUCKS. Also… I thought the Getzlaf hit was a pretty good elbow to the jaw on Gio. And then a brutal cross check call…. ugh the refs were bad

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I am kind of surprised Gio put himself in that position against Getzlaf. I also think Getzlaf left his feet and went head hunting. The major issue I had with the officiating was the lack of call on the Backlund break a way…inexplicable.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I am wondering if Ferland’s playing time is a function of his fitness….he looked gassed on the bench. It does not make sense that he does not get any time on the PP or limited playing time in the last 9 minutes. If he keeps getting that many shots he will score and make a difference. Johnny continues to play scared, he got stripped twice, and does not like to hold onto the puck against Anaheim. If he can’t play big with Ferland on his line then he needs to change his game.

  • shaner

    ferland was solid while johnny and money just were into soiling sheets.
    gio says “whooooaaaa what just hit me” Getzlaf express
    versteeg has got to keep his head up, you are in the show bud
    Dougie…..think it out, you crosschecking Getzlaf for a clean hit is going to result in one of two things,,, you getting a cross checking penalty or you getting a cross checking penalty and an ass whipping and getting to sit for 5 minutes……….be better.
    Elliot was a stud……pure and simple!

    ps. this new site is half the site of the old one, brutal………………………just brutal

  • Captain Ron

    Time to stop blaming the officials for this loss. This team self destructs in the Honda Center. It is all their fault and the Coach and the Captain need to get this fixed RFN if the want to win even one game. Time for Bouma to take a seat in favor of either of the other two options.

  • The Sultan

    Eveyone: okay, in order to win this game, this series, in this building, we need to NOT take penalties.

    Flames: *takes all of the penalties*

    I mean, first minute of the game? Absolute trash. That line change that led to a 3 on 0? Garbage. Kesler sitting on the puck for the final 10 seconds of the game? Pure filth.

      • The Sultan

        I was hoping they’d at least add time back onto the clock. As Flames fans expecting any calls to go our way let alone a penalty shot just isn’t going to happen. If Kesler does that any other time, fine, but in the dying seconds of a one goal playoff game between two division rivals… seriously the NHL has the worst referees out of all the major league sports.

        Not saying we didn’t deserve the penalties we got. Just, it’s the playoffs. Either put the whistles away or call everything fairly.

          • Oilerchild77

            Remember guys, the Canadian dollar is at about 73 cents right now. So, let’s ask ourselves: Do we think the league really wants to give a team that will not make them as much money a REAL chance to win a playoff game? I think we all know the answer, so expecting the calls to go our teams way is probably a reach. Let’s just be happy that we get to watch players like McDavid and Gudreau every night.

  • Eggs Bennett

    For all the mistakes the Flames made, here are two positives: 1. The goaltender battle is not lopsided. Elliott was solid in net and Gibson I thought was fighting to track the puck all night. 2. We don’t look as outmatched as we did 2 years ago. There were stretches in the 2nd where we really carried the play and put together a number of momentum shifts. Now if the refs can just put away the whistles like they did for WSH-TOR earlier……..

  • Tanner

    Even though the Flames lost, I thought last night was somewhat positive, outside of the discipline issues and some uncharacteristic sloppiness by Giordano and Backlund and the ongoing disappointment of Brouwer (exacerbated by his ridiculous salary). If Elliott continues to play this way, I would be happy to see him resigned. More importantly, the Flames were not dominated like they were two years ago. I think the highlight was easily the Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland line. They played very well. I saw it on the ice and last night and I see it in the numbers this morning.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    And if the game result was reversed and one of our lads got away with laying an egg (sitting on the puck) the outlook on this thread would be entirely different. The Flames have nothing to lose and the coaches no staff has the impart this message.

  • Lucky 13

    Tough loss tonight, but we need Johnny and Monahan to play as Ferland did. Speaking of that, if Ferland can generate 7 shots on net , wtf isn’t he on the PP?
    Brouwer on PP again? Are we interested in winning? Oh right, Brouwer brings experience. Gawd I wish I could fire Brouwer and Bouma to the moon.
    Can we please see Lazar over Bouma and F Hamilton over Brouwer? Nope not gunna happen.

    Enough ranting, great game by Elliott ,Giordano and Versteeg.
    Bennett was good as was Brodie.
    We need game two and can someone please tell Johnny it’s time to wake up… its playoffs!

    • Alberta Ice

      When the camera followed the puck from the Ducks end to the Flames end, I actually thought there were four black forms converging on Elliot. It looked like a shark frenzy toward our goalie. He was left for dead meat. And yet despite that, he made a marvellous first save. That’s why I still have hope for our next game in downing the Ducks and ceasing the curse.

  • HAL MacInnis

    I don’t know what the heck happened on that line change. That embarrassing mistake seemed to rattle the Flames too much. And then Dougie’s mental breakdown with the slashing penalty on Getzlaf, after the hit on Giordano, made me pull out what little hair I have left. Gio popped right back up, everything was fine… except in Hamilton’s mind. They weather the storm and Bouma… damned Bouma clumsily crashes the net and gets a penalty. Then on the power play, for a split second, Frolik moves back instead of forcing Silfverberg to pass back and gives him a prime angle on the net.

    there were some good things to build on from the game though. Versteeg looked the best out there when under pressure, I thought. He saw the ice pretty well. Elliott was simply amazing. He was solid in net. Bennett had some good shifts and carried the puck up well. Ferland worked his ass off and showed everyone else on his team how to not suck at getting to the net. I’m still hopeful that Calgary can turn it around, but Gulutzan has to get these guys under control.

    • That bad line change turned the whole game around. I don’t remember ever seeing a three-man breakaway in a playoff game before. Probably just nerves. Let’s hope the next game is better for all five Canadian teams.

  • TheoForever

    No heart Brouwer on PP instead of Ferkland, who was one of the best players on the ice.
    Terrible 5-3, and no timeout anywhere in the last couple of minutes?
    Officiating was a joke too.

  • Franko J

    Too many mistakes and against a team like the Ducks the Flames have to capitalize on their opportunities. Which they never took advantage of. As the Ducks did. Bottom line is it appears the Flames really had only one line going in the game tonight. That is not good enough. Hopefully the guys can bounce back on Saturday. If not this will be a very short post season.

  • TrueBlue

    I know its only been 1 game a piece for both the Flames and Oilers, but both Alberta teams need to get it together! I We need a battle of Alberta in the second round. Could care less about 2 American teams from California that probably don’t even know they have NHL teams!!!

  • Southboy

    We were outclassed by a veteran playoff team, but we showed alot of good things, take away all the penalties ( which i am sorry but were all legit calls ) and i believe we beat this team on hard work and fast play. Hamiltons penalty was dumb in the playoffs. And sorry Sultan but it was no where near an elbow on Giordano.

  • Alberta Ice

    Exactly right. If the Flames play like they did and eliminate costly mistakes and penalties, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t beat the Ducks. Rubber Ducky match on Saturday for sure! GFG