There are some hope that the Calgary Flames could pull this one out of the hat and draw even in the best-of-seven series. Anaheim was the top team in the Western Conference because of their size, grit, and tenacity. Having two of the top skilled players on their team doesn’t hurt either. Calgary responds with a top line that’s been mostly absent and hurt. Their most potent offensive threat? Diminutive Johnny Gaudreau.
Despite having very few offensive weapons to respond with, the Flames still hung in there and gay places that they could indeed tie the series up. For all intensive purposes this team can skate with the best. Corsi stats be absolutely damned, the Flames stack up against the elite teams, and are close to being elite themselves once the greenhorns get some experience.
Experience is one of the things of the Flames lack, it was no more evident than this game. Trying out this loss to inexperience and a lot of offense.
Exciting before the game was building. This started as potentially the final game that the hometown fans could watch. Surprise lineup announcements, Ferland and Bouma factored in, with Granlund and Jooris out. The size was a factor, but ultimately neither player played many minutes in the final period.
Calgary went down early giving up a power play goal. Much to everybody’s surprise they responded immediately. That top line finally found a way to score 5v5. Not to be outdone on the third line factored in moments later with Ferland’s second of the post-season ripping home a short side goal. The Flames held play in the opening period and also a rare lead.
Anaheim’s opening goal was after Cory Perry embellished a high-sticking. This is one of those veteran moves. Perry was embellishing and complaining the entire game, but as I type of play that puts the referees in your pocket. Social media when up and fire after missed call after missed call. As you get when the the veteran plays the referees for a fool.
The rest seem to understand that they were played for two periods and tried to even things up in the third. It actually tipped the scales in Calgary’s favor, but in the playoffs you have to capitalize on your limited opportunities and tonight that wasn’t the case. A 5v3 power play in the third period amounted to two measly shots.
Anaheim for their part chipped away at the lead starting by asserting their dominance down low in 5v5 play. You only have yourself to blame, and the Flames, although outplayed at times, shot themselves in the foot. Count this up to rookie mistakes. Rookies learning with limited playoff experience, will be worth its weight in gold in the future, but right now counts for nothing. Gaudreau may light it up with the first goal off a nice end to end rush, but he was also the direct cuase of a bad giveaway in the second period that gave Anaheim their tying goal.
Joe Colborne continued the ridiculous stupidity with a 4 minute unnecessary high sticking penalty with no time remaining in the second. You got the sense that would spell the end. After Calgary couldn’t muster any offence on their powerplays, you knew the game was over, and it was.
With limited scoring chances generated Calgary will need to pour everything they have in the final game to stay alive. Ultimately, fans and the organization is thrilled with the performance of the team thus far. Nobody will be surprised if the team exits the second round, they aren’t out of it yet and admitting defeat at this point isn’t in the DNA of the team.
Let’s prep for Sunday, Go Flames Go!