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Ducks Draw First Blood in Tight Game

Calgary shot themselves in the foot

Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Entering the game, there was a lot excitement and joy for Calgary Flames fans as their team was finally back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Leaving the game, there was a bitter taste in their mouth as the Flames cost themselves the victory on Thursday night.

1st Period

The game didn’t start off well as the Flames would quickly find themselves shorthanded after a Dougie Hamilton trip.

Anaheim would then immediately get on the board with a point shot that deflected off Deryk Engelland into the net. It was 1-0 Ducks 52 seconds in, not good.

Calgary would bounce back on their own powerplay as Sean Monahan would redirect Kris Versteeg’s perfect centering past into the corner of the net to tie the game.

The Ducks would get a few more powerplays in the period but Brian Elliott would shut them down.

The opening period would end with the game tied 1-1 but the Ducks outshooting the Flames 17-9.

2nd Period

After a very entertaining fast-paced start to the second period the Flames would battle through some furious Duck pressure before moving the puck down to the other end of the ice.

Sam Bennett would eventually finish off a long offensive zone sequence by deflecting another perfect Kris Versteeg pass in, and it was 2-1 Flames.

Then it happened...I don’t know how to fully describe it other than...It’s exactly what you’d expect would happen at the Honda Center.

With a puck dumped down to the Ducks zone, the Flames somehow decided that all five of them would change, but at a leisurely pace.

In that time, the Ducks would send a stretch pass up to Ryan Getzlaf who would lead the Ducks on a 3-on-0 (maybe 4-on-0). Elliott would stand tall with the original save, but Rickard Rakell would bury the rebound right before help arrived.

The Flames would then take back to back penalties. After killing the first one, the Ducks PP would be too much as Jakob Silfverberg would get a shot through Elliott off a defender.

Very quickly the game’s momentum shifted as Anaheim led 3-2 after two periods and held a 30-20 shot advantage.

3rd Period

The Flames really failed to generate a lot in the third period for the first half, save for a few good Micheal Ferland chances. But for the most part the Ducks fell into their defensive shell that’s won them so many games over the years.

Mark Giordano would get laid out on a big hit from Getzlaf which would result in Hamilton taking his third penalty of the night by delivering a cross check to Getzlaf. Anaheim wouldn’t score but they’d eat up crucial time.

Calgary then would be gifted a 5-on-3 powerplay in short order. The Flames best chances would be Johnny Gaudreau getting a rebound in front of Gibson but he just couldn’t reach far enough.

It was actually a really disappointing powerplay as they could barely set up. Also I had no clue why Troy Brouwer was out there after Mr. Playoffs had been invisible all game. Compare that to Ferland who had 7 shots at that point, and I was befuddled.

Anaheim would clear the puck out and we’d get some shenanigans late but that would be it as the Ducks took the first game of the series 3-2. Shots finished 42-31 for Anaheim.

The Good

  1. Brian Elliott gave his team a chance to win and they let him down with penalties, poor execution, and poor decision making
  2. Kris Versteeg had a couple beautiful assists
  3. Micheal Ferland had a really solid game with 7 shots and 3 hits

The Bad

  1. Deryk Engelland had a rough night, deflecting the first goal and getting in the way on the line change
  2. The 3M line seemed slightly off tonight as they failed to connect on some passes and struggled defensively
  3. DOUGIE HAMILTON STAY OUT OF THE BOX
  4. Can we win a few more faceoffs please?

The Ugly

  1. Extending the curse
  2. The Line Change. If anyone has ever seen a worse one in their life, please let me know.

Simply put, the Flames and Ducks were pretty even tonight at 5v5 and the game was there for the taking. However the Flames did themselves in with poor decision making and playing undisciplined.

If you look for positives, the Flames can compete with the Ducks but they need to stay out of the box because the refs aren’t going to let things get out of hand.

The Flames will aim to bounce back and square up the series on Saturday night at 8:30 MT. Ducks lead 1-0. Let’s hope they learn how to stay disciplined and learn how to line change before then.