Last game was a backwards Flames game as they started out well and ended poorly. With elimination looming, the Flames tried and almost succeeded in keeping the playoff dream alive but failed against a superior Anaheim team.
Neither team was able to sustain much offensive pressure to start off the game, which is a positive for the Flames after their first two games in the Honda Center.
The first sustained pressure came on the 4-on-4, with Deryk Engelland and Patrick Maroon off for roughing, as the Ducks made it look like a powerplay. Perhaps the most embarrassing play was when Cam Fowler was able to walk in and swing around the back of the net for a wraparound attempt.
When it looked like the momentum had swung in favour of Anaheim, one of our best friends, Ryan Kesler, caught Sean Monahan's face with his stick. There was blood. A lot of it. You know what that means - four minutes!
The powerplay is not a favourite for the Flames, as the Ducks have one of the more aggressive penalty kills and were dominating any play along the boards.
It wasn't until the second half of the double minor that the Flames seemed more controlled and were getting their passes through. It all culminated in a slapshot from Papa Jiri Hudler that beat Frederik Andersen short side.
Enter poor Joe Colborne, not having the best of luck with the refs. Off a great play by Lance Bouma to get the puck in front of Andersen, Colborne was called for interference on Hampus Lindholm.
And a great kill by the Flames was exactly what they needed. They were able to hold the puck in the neutral zone and finally clear the puck from their zone. The Ducks were held to zero shots.
Simon Despres would follow up by holding Colborne. Andersen had a great save on Bouma, who almost tipped the puck in during the delayed penalty.
Not a great powerplay, as the Ducks got a few shorthanded chances. But Ryan Getzlaf did fall down a bit off the first face-off, which put a smile on my face.
And another penalty, in the most confusing reffing ever, as Johnny Gaudreau was called for the weakest hook but a lot of other things went unnoticed. Another half decent penalty kill to end the period. The Flames aren't super aggressive on the kill without Josh Jooris, but they were effective in holding the Ducks to the outside.
Flames would end the period on the PK, leading 1-0. Shots and Corsi were in favour of the Ducks, 12-9 and 23-17, respectively.
The second period didn't start great with the Flames on the penalty kill, but they didn't allow a goal. Always a silver lining.
Too bad Colborne got caught, yet again, for a holding penalty on Lindholm. The Ducks were able to cycle the puck quite easily in the Flames zone. Kesler went unnoticed by the Flames and ended up in front of Bouma for a pass from Jakob Silfverberg to convert.
It didn't take a full minute for the Flames to respond, as Johnny Hockey did Johnny Hockey things. Thanks to a tip from Forever-a-Hitman Getzlaf, the Flames would lead once again.
Yet another penalty with Lindholm cross-checking 18-year-old Sam Bennett had fans wishing the Flames could decline the call as the powerplay amounted to a total of zero shots and a few Ducks rushes.
And controversy hit as Matt Stajan collided with beloved Corey Perry, who dropped to the ice and had half of Twitter feeling sorry for him.
The play did lead to a couple of incidental penalties with Micheal Ferland and Clayton Stoner off for roughing. The 4-on-4 was back and forth and didn't amount to much excitement.
The period ended with intense pressure from the Ducks trying to tie it up going into the third. Ramo was playing super aggressively all game and ended up caught way outside his net. Good thing he was bailed out by human wall Kris Russell and the other Flames skaters out there.
Somewhere, Mikael Backlund was called for slashing at the 20 minute mark. Great.
Calgary held on to a 2-1 lead going into the third. Ducks again led 14-5 in shots and 28-10 in Corsi.
The Flames started the third on a penalty kill. The Flames allowed a powerplay goal to start the third period. It's as if we've seen this movie before.
The period was a showing of exactly how good the Ducks are and how lucky the Flames have been to get to this point.The Flames just couldn't clear their own zone and had troubles getting any zone entries.
But the Flames have a great future, displayed by Bennett's spin in the neutral zone and subsequent zone entry. Playing with the father-son duo of Hudler and Gaudreau, the kids really shone.
Other than that, the Flames looked to be lost in their own zone with the Ducks playing very aggressively, trying to shut this series down.
Blocked shots may point toward some poor underlying issues, but sometimes they work out. Russell doing what he does led to David Jones carrying the puck up and through the Ducks zone. Too bad he was caught behind the net and couldn't get anything offensively from it.
And when the Flames looked to be setting up, Dennis Wideman's stick broke on him while he was trying to make a pass. Kesler scooped up the loose puck and got it out to Matt Beleskey for a breakaway, so Wideman made the decision to chase him down instead of trying to grab a new stick. I couldn't handle another Beleskey goal.
The last minute of the game was frightening and great. With about eight seconds left, Jones carried the puck up and got it to Matty Franchise, who almost tipped the puck off of a Ducks player to beat Andersen. IF ONLY.
Game 5 was headed to overtime with a tie score of 2-2. And again the Ducks led 14-5 in shots and 28-13 in Corsi.
This was all Karri Ramo for the first couple of minutes as the Flames weren't helping offensively or defensively.
Kesler almost ended it with an open net and a diving Ramo, but David Schlemko got a piece of the puck to redirect it enough to hit the crossbar.
Beleskey almost ended it as he was in all alone in the Flames zone on a poor line change. Ramo bailed them out.
And who else but Corey Perry to end it. With a scramble in front of the net. There was no replay but Ramo was not pleased and tried to argue the goal (after watching the replay, I don't see what Ramo could argue for).
The Ducks dominated overtime (and the game) and the Flames really didn't deserve to win that. Overtime shots were 7-0 (ZERO SHOTS FLAMES? C'MON). The Ducks had 11 shot attempts as well. In total, the Ducks out-shot the Flames 47-19 and out-Corsi'd them 90-40. Absolute slaughter.
- Monahan's bleeding in the first became its own source of Sportsnet panel controversy as they argued about him getting back on the ice even though they had not stopped the bleeding and he was playing with a 'contaminated' jersey (even though he had already changed). He was on his third jersey by the end of the period.
- Perry - what a magnet for gossip. Love him or hate him, we were all talking about him.
- First, he kind of manhandled TJ Brodie's lovely face.
Corey Perry, human biohazard, step away from the perfect human, TJ Brodie.— Terra (@Puckstar_) May 11, 2015
- Then, the knee. Yes it looked bad, and I don't doubt that it hurt. But he crawled off the ice and went to the dressing room, only to return minutes later, not limping? That raises some eyebrows. Thankfully, he's okay.
- Maybe the Flames should take up soccer? First it was Stajan in Game 2, then Wideman chased down Beleskey without a stick. New summer activity?
Hard not to get your hopes up with this Flames team. They surprised everyone all season and made us believe despite their issues. It was amazing that they were playing meaningful hockey into May, and they gave us a hell of a season. It's been a long time since the Flames have been this exciting, and it was unbelievable how the C of Red and Red Mile returned to Calgary as the City united as a force to support the team. Flames fans should leave this season proud of this team and excited for the future.
Flame of the Game:
A couple of stand-outs were David Jones, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sam Bennett. I also have to give a nod to Matt Stajan - maybe it's Sportsnet constantly bringing up him family story, but I just love him. But the flame of the game was easily Karri Ramo. He allowed just three goals on 47 (!) shots for a 0.936 SV%. The Flames didn't give him too much help and he did what he could - though I could do without the heart attacks from him being caught outside the crease from being so aggressive!
Welp, Flames fans, it was a heck of a season. We got lucky that we played the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, but taking on the top Western Conference team in the second round was no easy feat. Thank you for an awesome season and thanks for following along with us!