The Flames run in Anaheim has been nothing short of disappointing. After Thursday night’s 6-1 loss, the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Calgary Flames 3-0. The two teams will travel to Calgary for game 3 and 4. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Ducks are the first team to win 6 straight games in their playoff run since Pittsburgh had 7 in 2008. The Flames have now lost 21 straight games (regular season included) in Anaheim. The Ducks lead the series 2-0, but hopefully the home-ice will give the Flames the advantage they need to even the playing field.
The change in goaltending was not the only thing different when entering the game. Defenseman Micheal Ferland was deemed unable to play after warmup’s for game 2. He left game 1 with an undisclosed injury, but was thought to make his comeback in game 2. That didn’t happen. Flames coach Bob Hartley also fiddled with the top line several times. Mason Raymond saw time on the top line alongside Monahan and Hudler. He also had one of the best chances at scoring from point-blank range in the second. Another change was replacing Johnny ‘Hockey’ Gaudreau with fellow rookie Sam Bennett.
Gaudreau’s production for this series has been nothing. After not wanting to risk him being a target in the first game, Hartley took him out for the entirety of the third period. It isn’t a huge surprise that he isn’t faring well against the Ducks mainly because of his size. Anaheim is big. I mean really big. Gaudreau is only about 5′ 9″ and 150 pounds. You pair him up against someone like Ryan Getzlaf who is a monster, it’s tough to compete.
Besides a goal from Matt Beleskey in the first, the Flames did a wonderful job at keeping the score low. Starting goaltender, and third star of the game, Karri Ramo is to thank for only one goal going in. Anaheim took 20 shots on goal in the first period. For a goaltender to face this many shots and still keep the deficit at one is highly impressive. Calgary finished the second period off with only 9 shots on goal.
The second period was the start of a much better game for the Flames. After being outshot by 11 in the first, they came back and outshot the Ducks in the second. The second period was scoreless on both ends. The first half of the period the Ducks still seemed to be controlling the game, but around the halfway mark, things seemed to fall better into place. Both teams had some close attempts, but did not see results. The goaltending on both ends still had a huge part in this. Calgary put Anaheim on it’s third power play in the second, and this could’ve been a huge turning point in the game, but a huge effort from the Flames allowed them to kill off the penalty.
“We had a couple chances in the second period to make it 1-1 … We have to find a way to capitalize.” – TJ Brodie
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 4, 2015
The third period was not so hopeful for the Flames. It wasn’t until 11:15 into the third that the Flames chance of coming back diminished after a goal from Hampus Lindholm after being set up by Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Like I’ve said previously, those two are potent, and you can’t allow them chances. An empty net goal from Nate Thompson (assisted by Perry and Getzlaf, obviously), sealed Calgary’s fate at 17:44. Calgary’s top forwards just couldn’t find their way in Sunday night’s game. All three of their top forwards, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler didn’t have a shot on goal until over 50 minutes into the game. The three combined came out with only two shots on goal total. Calgary was able to get their shot count to 30, while Anaheim still lead with 34. Karri Ramo was by far the best player out on that ice for the Flames, and that’s exactly what he needed to be. Unfortunately the Ducks shut them out offensively and Calgary didn’t take advantage of the hope that their goaltender was providing. Ramo gave his team a chance, and yet they still couldn’t capitalize. Sunday night’s game was Ramo’s first career playoff game, he stopped 31 of the 33 shots thrown at him.
“If it was not for Karri in the first period, this game would have been over.” – Bob Hartley
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 4, 2015
Tuesday night’s game in Calgary could potentially bring about another story line for the Flames; hopefully something more positive. They are after all the ‘Comeback Kids’.