It was a big night for both Peter Maher and Jonas Hiller, as the Flames' longtime broadcaster was honoured, and the longtime Anaheim Ducks goalie faced off against his former team for the first time. Both were in danger of being dishonoured by the collective group that is the Calgary Flames, but a late game comeback made it a great night.
The ceremony may have taken a bit out of the Flames. That and losing their third best defenceman, Kris Russell, right before puck drop. Calgary had all of four shots in the first period: two came from Brian McGrattan, one from Brandon Bollig, and one from Mark Giordano. You are going to win approximately zero games if that's a thing that happens.
Other things that happened in the first: Tim Jackman tried to rough up Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau pushed back a bit, then got around him to resume following the puck. Deryk Engelland watched this exchange and challenged Jackman to a fight. He did not fight particularly well, and had to go to the dressing room for repairs, while Jackman picked up an extra penalty for slashing. The Flames started applying pressure towards the end of the powerplay, but once it was even strength, the Ducks were firmly in command, as they were most of the period.
While Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler had a decent chance to score with a missed two on one (and then failed Gaudreau wraparound attempt), it was the Ducks who would open the scoring in a shameful all-Swiss affair. Sven Baertschi couldn't clear the zone, and he dove to try to block Sami Vatanen's shot. Vatanen just kind of watched him and waited, and once Sven had slid well out of the way, took his shot, which Rapha Diaz ended up redirecting fivehole on Hiller.
Not for the Flames' lack of effort, as Baertschi was soon back out there and created a lot of chaos in the Ducks' end with linemates Paul Byron and Josh Jooris, but the trio was unable to even get a shot on net in a period that really could have gone much better. The Flames were outshot 9-4, and out-corsied 22-14. Take away their powerplay, and they were out-corsied 22-9.
The Flames followed up a seriously lackluster first by adding a whole three shots to their total. Thanks Gio, Bollig, and Markus Granlund. Your attempts were in vain, but at least you tried.
Actually, Granlund, alongside Hudler and Gaudreau, had some pretty noticeable jump, even if he followed his shot up with a trip on Vatanen. Hiller, who apparently had not yet given up on the game and thus deserves to be commemorated, was outstanding on the penalty kill, holding strong and making some pretty nice saves despite a mass scrum of Ducks around his net.
That wouldn't quite be the case when Dennis Wideman tripped Emerson Etem, though (and then got into it with Corey Perry, who had the mumps, so seriously Dennis don't touch him you don't know where he's been). Just over a minute into their second powerplay, with Kyle Palmieri screening Hiller, Hampus Lindholm shot the puck from the point and Matt Beleskey tipped it home, putting the Ducks up 2-0.
A couple more scoring chances followed when Andrew Cogliano hit the post; TJ Brodie, Giordano, and Hudler had some nice passing only for Hudler to shoot the puck wide; and Gaudreau was jumping up to try to score in the period's final minute, but ultimately the Flames were outshot 19-7 and out-corsied 42-23 overall after two.
And then, the Flames woke up.
Early on, Palmieri was called for roughing Byron. The Flames failed to score on the powerplay, but kept it going even after it expired, largely thanks to Brodie who is, of course, amazing. Brodie kept the puck in the zone and danced through a series of Ducks to bring it up the net. Granlund had the perfect chance to get the Flames' first goal, but he fanned on the shot. No worries, though, as Hudler was right there to capitalize, making it a 2-1 game.
And then Brodie drew a powerplay, once again from Palmieri as he hooked him down. Ryan Kesler had a great chance at a shorthanded break when he blocked Giordano's shot, but Gio easily caught up to him and took the puck away, completely nullifying him.
The powerplay wasn't great, but it should have become a five on three when Kesler viciously crosschecked Hudler. The infraction went uncalled.
Nothing to worry about quite yet, however, as soon after the powerplay expired, Granlund picked up a giveaway and dished it over to Wideman. The defenceman absolutely wired it, tying the game.
And then Gaudreau went into the trenches. He chased Vatanen behind the net, eventually stripping the puck from him in the corner. Once he had it, he passed it back to Wideman, who sent it past Frederik Andersen with a knucklepuck of a shot to somehow give the Flames their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Sadly, it was not to last, as Jooris was called for tripping Jakob Silfverberg. The Ducks scored quickly on the powerplay, beneficiaries of a weirdly bouncing puck that Hiller stopped once, but couldn't a second time, as Palmieri, who really had quite the busy period, was the last to touch the puck that flew over Hiller and into the net.
The Flames had the chance to counter with yet another powerplay of their own when Silfverberg hooked Granlund, who Hudler sprung towards the Ducks' net. The Flames were clearly trying to set up Wideman for the hat trick, and while he had a bunch of shots, he was unable to get it. The powerplay was killed, but some stellar work from Hudler gave the Flames more scoring chances, and prevented the Ducks from doing anything themselves.
The Flames were still outshot 25-17, and out-corsied 60-41, but they really came alive in the third, and it showed.
The Ducks' second powerplay goal sent the game to overtime, though, in what may be the final dry scrape the Flames face. Brodie was an absolute magician, and he, along with Hudler and Sean Monahan did an outstanding job controlling the puck and generating chances.
But if you call Brodie a magician, I don't even know what word you can use to describe Gaudreau. Johnny Hockey is incredible, and he absolutely crushed it every time he was out there. He had a great steal thanks to some lazy passing between Kesler and Perry right by the Flames' net, driving it down the ice and forcing the Ducks to spend the rest of the overtime period defending against him.
This resulted in Calgary's fifth powerplay of the game when Kesler crosschecked Brodie. The Flames once again tried to set up Wideman, but Andersen was the better. The Ducks had to close out the 20 second powerplay with Ryan Getzlaf tackling Giordano to prevent him from getting a last second shot off. While the shots were 2-2, the Flames dominated the extra frame, out-corsiing the Ducks 7-2.
Gaudreau scored on the rebound in his first ever shootout attempt. It only took him one shot this time, forcing Andersen to open up his fivehole, which he neatly tucked it through, putting the Flames up 1-0.
Kesler was first up for the Ducks, and he pinged it right off the post and in, tying the shootout 1-1.
Hudler was up next, and he had a great backhand move, but Andersen was ready for him and stopped it with his glove.
Silfverberg failed to score for the Ducks as Hiller just got his shot with his glove.
Monahan was great in shootouts last season, and he kept it up this season as he absolutely ripped it past Andersen, putting the Flames up 2-1.
And then, there were just two former teammates. Perry had to score to extend it for the Ducks, and Hiller denied him. He then jumped about two feet in the air with the biggest smile on his face, having secured the win. We love you, Jonas. You are the best.
Flame of the game
Dennis Wideman had two goals. Markus Granlund had two assists. Jiri Hudler was a force on the comeback. But you can't rely on just one period to win a game, and for that reason, this one goes to Jonas Hiller. The Flames were straight up garbage for two periods, and Hiller is the reason they were able to even mount a comeback to begin with. His save percentage was nothing world beating, but he kept his team in it until they were ready to actually try. And hey, that was his former team. You could tell he wanted it. Well, he got it.
- With Russell unexpectedly out, Hudler got to wear an A.
- David Jones got injured again. Devin Setoguchi took his spot on the top line. That spot was taken from him and given to Byron after one period. Can't think the Gooch experiment is going to go on much longer once guys start coming off the injured reserve.
- How about that Granlund? Markus, that is. He now has eight points in nine games. His older brother, the much more highly-touted Mikael Granlund, has eight points in 17 games. Just throwing that out there. The better Granlund is now tied for ninth in rookie scoring. He's one point back of Jonathan Drouin in five fewer games. Hmm.
- Speaking of rookies and scoring, Gaudreau is in second, with 13 points in 19 games. Just Filip Forsberg is ahead of him, with 22 in 18. But Gaudreau hasn't had the chance to play the Maple Leafs yet, so...
With three more 3rd period goals tonight, the #Flames have outscored opponents 27-12 in the final 20 this season.— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) November 19, 2014
- Giordano's nine-game point streak was stopped, but Wideman finally got back on the scoreboard after nine games without a goal since potting four in four. He also snapped a five-game pointless drought.
- Giordano, Brodie, and Wideman all played over 27 minutes, with Giordano eclipsing 28 and Brodie nearing it. Ladislav Smid had 21. Diaz played 15. Engelland barely passed 10. This team needs another defenceman real, real bad.
- Speaking of Engelland. And Bollig and McGrattan, for that matter. First, Engelland's fight against Jackman: well, he went down pretty easy, didn't he? If you're Jackman, are you intimidated by that?
- Second: what value does this so-called toughness provide if you have three players who are just sitting there, absolutely wasting roster spots? Bollig barely played more than five minutes. McGrattan didn't even reach that mark. Bollig and McGrattan stopped seeing any ice time whatsoever around the 34 minute mark. That's two players sitting there accomplishing not a single damn thing for basically half a game. The Flames didn't win this game because they got "bigger", they won it thanks to luck, goaltending, and the efforts of a number of smaller, speedy, high skill players.
- No wait I forgot Gaudreau was super intimidated and pushed around when he went into the trenches to retrieve the puck. Wait no the other thing, he stole it and assisted on a goal. He didn't even need Engelland's help to do it! (Engelland would not have been able to help him.)
- Baertschi was pretty soundly benched but at least he got to play a bit in the third.
- They've played more games than most teams, but the Flames are second in the Pacific Division. They're third in the Western Conference. They're sixth in the league. A quarter of the way through the season. It's year two of the rebuild, and while this probably won't keep up, wow. Wow. They are fun to watch.
... the Flames didn't dress a single goon next game? Or ever again? Hartley trusts Diaz more than Engelland. Hartley doesn't trust Bollig or McGrattan at all. They're useless. Not playing them is a good start, but stop dressing them.
That's obviously not going to happen, though. So. Next game! How many goons will we see? The Flames host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, Nov. 20. Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. MT, and without a tribute that time, probably actually start considerably earlier.