It was another expected loss in Anaheim tonight as the Flames fell to the Ducks in a 5-2 shellacking. What wasn't expected was to see Brandon Bollig playing with the top line of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. It was quite a surprise to see him standing on the ice with Mony and Johnny during the singing of the national anthems. But Hartley made it clear at the beginning of the game that there would be no rhyme or rhythm to his lines tonight.
The Flames opened the game with a power play and the defensemen made an impact early with Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton sending bullets at the net. Sam Bennett got away with a knee on knee against Perry that didn't look pretty, but, admittedly, it was a borderline call. Later in the period, when Gio took a delay of game penalty, Lance Bouma blocked a shot on that penalty kill, which sent the forward straight down the tunnel. This led to the Ducks opening the scoring and ended the first 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
I thought it was over for Bouma tonight, but was shocked to see him sitting on the bench again to start the middle period. Not long after the period started, he even had a good chance on net, but was robbed by Gibson. Kesler netted a goal for Anaheim, giving the home team a two-goal lead. It was as though Mark Giordano had had enough of the messing around and the Flames captain buried Calgary's first goal. That lit a fire beneath the Flames butts and we saw some good pressure from the visitors in the last half of the middle frame, Calgary matching Anaheim's physical play. The score was 2-1 after 40 minutes.
For as much as we looked forward to seeing the Flames third period comebacks last season, I think we are equally scared of the third period fall-aparts that we see this season. Dougie Hamilton and Deryk Engelland, although they did well in the first two periods, started the third off badly, which led to the Ducks third goal of the night 16 seconds into the final period. Tyler Wotherspoon, who has done well in place of Ladislav Smid, couldn't bury the puck, instead hitting the post and showing his frustration after he returned to the bench. Engelland's giveaway later in the period led to another goal by the home team, putting them ahead 4-1. Tempers got heated as Bieksa started shoving Joe Colborne around and Jakub Nakladal went head to head with Maroon. On another Flames penalty kill, the Ducks would finalize their tally at 5 goals, but a late goal by Mikael Backlund would finish off the score at 5-2.
Flame Of The Game
Mark Giordano. With tonight's goal, Gio notched his 15th goal of the season, a new career high. As well, he played a fast-paced, hard-hitting game of hockey reminiscent of those days of ol' when Jarome Iginla would get angry and become more productive. Gio led his team well in spite of another loss in Anaheim.
The Flames have a day off before they travel to LA to take on the Kings on Tuesday.