If Thursday's effort against the Los Angeles Kings was frustrating because the Flames did themselves in with their lack of shots and zone time throughout the first two periods, last night's game in Anaheim was the opposite. Despite out-shooting the Ducks 25-15 after forty minutes of play, the visitors found themselves down 2-0. Unlike Thursday, however, a third period comeback was in the cards for Calgary last night, as they scored twice in the final frame to force the game to OT before losing in a shootout.
The Flames came ready to play last night at the Honda Center, and were dominating play early before Lubomir Vishnovsky beat Henrik Karlsson on the Ducks' first shot of the game at 12:48 with a hard slapper from the middle of the ice that nobody wanted to get in front of. The visitors had several opportunities to tie the game including two late-period powerplays, but the Ducks did a good job of keeping them to the outside and protecting the front of the net, and entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. Shots were 11-8 in favour of the Flames through twenty, while chances finished 7-5 in favour of the visitors.
The Flames would keep there foot on the gas for most of the second period despite having to kill off three penalties in the middle frame, but Dan Sexton scored his first ever NHL goal to put the Ducks up 2-0 with just over three minutes remaining as the Ducks began to generate some chances within the final five minutes. Chances were tied at five per side in the second.
The visitors eventually broke through seven minutes into the third when Olli Jokinen scored on their sixth powerplay opportunity of the night two bring his team to within one. The Flames dominated the final frame, out-chancing the Ducks 9-2 and out-shooting them 14-7, and it would pay off, as David Moss would tie things up at two with just over six minutes remaining after sitting out the previous two games with an "illness."
Unfortunately my internet cut out on me right before the beginning of the third period so I only caught a few minutes of action in the final frame and none of the OT period or the shootout, but it seems that Karlsson saved his team's bacon in the extra frame when Brendan Morrison was sent off for hooking, as the Ducks out-chanced their visitors 7-0 (!) without finding the back of the net. After Ryan Getzlaf and Alex Tanguay both scored for their respective teams in the shootout and the next two shooters were stopped, Corey Perry would beat Karlsson on the Ducks' third attempt. Rene Bourque, the Flames' final shooter. was stopped, and the Ducks would take the 'W' 3-2 in a shootout.
Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen were reunited in this game as Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch; Olli had a goal and five shots while Iginla collected two assists and directed seven pucks at Jonas Hiller, and both played over twenty minutes in this game. Jokinen finished marginally in the red in Corsi with a -1 while Jarome was even, decent results considering the pair spent much of their evening up against Getzlaf's line. They also finished even in scoring chance differential. It's certainly not an overly impressive body of work, but it's nice to see these two playing together and not getting badly out-played by their opposition while still contributing offensively, even if it is just one game.
To give credit where it's due, the Sex Panther now finds himself on something of a scoring streak with goals (on the powerplay, at that) in each of his past two games. Elsewhere, I've whined about Mikael Backlund playing on the PK rather than the PP several times this season, but he seems to be embracing the role. He made several good plays with his team down a man last night to intercept a pass or clear the zone, as the Flames were perfect on the penalty kill for the second consecutive game.
On the back end, Jay Bouwmeester was a workhorse for the Flames last night, playing 34:24 on the blueline. He finished with four shots on net but somehow managed to accrue a minus in the scoring chance department, likely because of the OT period in which the Flames were badly out-played. Mark Giordano had two assists in this game while creeping ever closer to thirty minutes, finishing the evening second behind Bouwmeester at 28:31. Adam Pardy played under ten minutes last night after being victimized on the Ducks' second goal, although he and Anton Babchuk were both in the black in this one.
Despite the lack of fist-pumps in the end, Karlsson still had a decent game last night. With the Flames winning the possession battle he went long stretches without seeing much action in his end of the ice, and he was there when his team needed him in OT. If I'm not mistaken, the SOL puts the rookie at 2-1-2 on the season, probably one of the better records held by a Flames' backup 'tender in a while, considering we are only thirty games into the season.
The Flames are now off for two days after going 0-1-1 on their California road trip, returning home to take on Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday evening.