Tuesday night’s game between the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks was no doubt one of the best narratives of the playoffs; unlike this piece, it practically wrote itself. As I previously hinted at in my story about Sunday night’s game, Calgary did indeed add another interesting story line to the series. A controversial call, a last second regulation goal and a dramatic game winner made for one utterly exhilarating win by the Flames. Their 4-3 win was the Flames third playoff victory when behind the first two periods.
The first period started off early in favor of the Flames with a beautiful shot roofed by Brandon Bollig just 2:07 in. The early lead, though, was quickly diminished with a goal from Patrick Maroon on a feed from Ryan Getzlaf at 6:57 to tie it up. Calgary was still looking rough in the first, but it was better than they had been for the majority of the past two games while in Anaheim. An additional goal from Corey Perry at 14:10 scored upon a scrambling Karri Ramo.
Near the beginning of the second, a tripping call on Matt Stanjan put Anaheim on the power play, and the Flames looked to be in trouble. After a turnover in their d-zone, Joe Colborne broke through the neutral zone from a turnover and backhands one behind Frederik Andersen. Matt Belesky answered back with a goal for Anaheim at 8:20 to take the lead. Belesky has been a real thorn in Calgary’s side this series. His three playoff points have come in the three games in this series, and he’s found his way to break through Calgary’s D and exploit all of their mistakes. Calgary seemed to have fixed many of their faults that were contributing to their downfall in the past games.
If the first two periods sounded interesting, the third trumped them both. While some might say there were technically two goals scored in the third period by Calgary, the officials in Toronto say there was only one. The Flames trailed by one goal in the third when rookie Sam Bennett was robbed of a goal by Andersen, or was he robbed by the league? In what looked to be a goal from several other angles, the overhead view appeared to be inconclusive. Because the evidence was ambiguous, the ruling on the ice stood: no goal. Whether the straight on view was appearing to be an optical illusion, or it really just didn’t fully cross the goal line, we’ll never know. Calgary dominated this period. The shot count for this period was Anaheim: 3, Calgary: 11. Calgary outshot Anaheim and controlled a lot of the puck possession.
Out of the six power play opportunities Calgary had throughout the game, they only scored on the one that mattered. Calgary pulled their goaltender to give them a two man advantage, due to it being a 4-on-3. A feed from Kris Russell to Johnny Gaudreau in the neutral zone got Johnny at a good angle. In true Johnny Hockey fashion, he scored the tying goal on the power play with 19.5 seconds left in the game. This extra advantage helped them break through the offensive zone Though Gaudreau’s production this series has been very low, he came in and got things going when it really mattered, taking the goal into overtime.
Overtime started off with Anaheim coming close one too many times for the liking of Calgary. Two incredible back-to-back saved from Ramo kept them in the OT, denying both of Anaheim’s top goal scorers Perry and Getzlaf. Once Calgary had puck possession, though, they seemed to dominate in their end. One thing we saw all throughout this game especially was Calgary keeping things going while having puck possession when a penalty was called on Anaheim. This was something we saw in their overtime winner. Calgary had possession, and they were playing through a delayed penalty against Anaheim. They had momentum, though, and didn’t loose the puck. Calgary pulled their goaltender and Mikael Backlund hopped over the boards as the extra attacker. Backlund got the puck and shot it through a screen of players, and right past Andersen into the net. Backlund’s first NHL playoff goal was the game-winner for Calgary in overtime.
The comeback kids do it again!