The Flames were looking to make it 12 consecutive home wins at the Saddledome tonight as they hosted the Anaheim Ducks. Ladislav Smid, Josh Jooris, and Mason Raymond were scratched while Michael Ferland was injured. With Karri Ramo in net and Jiri Hudler back on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, I had high hopes for this game. A little too high apparently.
The Ducks defense stole the first period, not allowing Dougie Hamilton or Michael Ferland to capitalize on their chances. The Flames defense didn't have the best night with intercepted passes in the defensive zone that led to Ducks chances on net, long passes that created turnovers, and botched plays throughout the entire game. And it's a sad sign of frustration when the opposition felt the need to slash a Johnny's hands...again. You know you're out-played when you have to take dirty shots at the star player of the opposing team. The first 20 minutes ended a scoreless period.
Dennis Wideman opened the middle frame with a 4 minute penalty when he drew blood on a high-stick on Getzlaf. With the first half of the penalty killed, the Ducks soon got an interference penalty which led to 4 on 4 for two minutes. Markus Granlund played smart hockey throughout the game, zone coverage dictating his play and position on ice. Just as things looked bad for the Flames, it got worse when the Ducks scored to put them up 1-0. Before the end of the period, Anaheim would ring another one off the post, thereabout setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The home team looked sluggish and defeated. They needed more physicality, but we didn't see it in the third period. The highlight of the period was when Sam Bennett rung one off the post, which was the closest the Flames would come to scoring a goal tonight. With the Flames still down by one, Markus Granlund played smart and drew a tripping penalty when he had a good chance on net. One of Granlund's best assets is being able to draw calls on absolutely nothing. During the penalty, Bennett surprised Gibson with a spinorama shot on net that caught the netminder off-guard even though he stopped it. With 90 seconds left in the game, Ramo hit the bench and the Flames put on the pressure, which eventually got to the Ducks enough that they took a late period penalty with only 17 seconds left.
And then the drama started...by Kesler. Shocking, I know. During the 6 on 4, the Flames couldn't bury one to tie the game, but a turnover led to the puck landing on Keslers stick just as the buzzer went to end the game. In one of the most disrespectful and unsportsmanlike moves, Kesler shot the puck into the Flames net long after the buzzer ended the game, to which T.J. Brodie took exception. Brodie gave Kesler a bump as he skated by and Kesler answered back with a shove. Enter Dennis Wideman who skated in throwing fists of wildfire at Kesler and landing a few to prove that nobody gets away with that kind of behavior in hockey. Eventually, Getzlaf entered the mix and Wideman fought back with some pushing and shoving of Getz until everyone was so exhausted they left the ice. This was Wideman's best action tonight and I applaud him for standing up for his teammates and sportsmanlike conduct in hockey.
Flame Of The Game
Dougie Hamilton. With 3 shots on net, 2 hits, and 19:29 worth of ice time, he was, by far, one of the most productive players tonight. He took chances at the right time, he stood solid on the blue line, and he took away space on the ice from the Ducks. After a rough start to the season, he is progressing nicely since early December when the Bruins visited the Flames.