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Flames Have Reasons for Optimism Heading Into Game 2

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It wasn’t all bad last night

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Now that I’ve started to get past the sting of last night’s nail-biter loss, I’m finding a lot more reasons for optimism for the Flames in this series.

A lot was put into the Flames needing to get the Game 1 victory to get the monkey off their backs, and while that wasn’t accomplished, things are looking better heading into Game 2.

While moral victories mean nothing in the playoffs, there’s a lot of reasons to feel optimistic heading into Game 2 and the rest of the series.

But first of all, let’s get one thing straight. The refs DID NOT cost the Flames the victory yesterday. Can you argue that any of the seven Flames penalties were not blatant breaking of the rules? I’d say you can’t.

Were there missed calls? Sure, but they were missed both ways. Calgary absolutely deserved to be shorthanded yesterday as much as they were.

Then there was the late 5-on-3 that the Flames horribly couldn’t even set up. Not to mention John Gibson made some amazing saves in the third.

AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT STUPID LINE CHANGE!

The point being, the Flames were right there with the Ducks but shot themselves in the foot. While that sucks, Calgary still lost by only one goal against a team that has been considered a clear favorite in the series and on an almost invincible scale to Flames fans because of a stupid streak.

Compared to 2014-15 when the Flames were dominated 6-1 in Game 1 and didn’t stand a chance, this looked a lot better.

When we consider the game at even strength, the Flames not only held their own with Anaheim, but significantly outchanced Amaheim, even before the Ducks took the lead for good late in the 2nd.

The slimmer margin between the Scoring Chances and Corsi really shows that despite having less shot attempts, the Flames were generating higher quality opportunities compared to the Ducks.

When the numbers are judged from this game, it has to inspire some confidence in Flames fans and the team. They can play with the Ducks. However, that can only occur if the Flames stay at even strength because Anaheim’s PP is so dangerous, or at the very least NOT GIVE THEM 7 OPPORTUNITIES.

Another reason that my confidence increased after watching that game was that the Ducks tried to draw the Flames into the physical/dirty scrums that they had done in the regular season, but the Flames stood up for themselves without losing their emotion.

This signaled a lot of growth in the young team as they continued to focus on playing their game as Anaheim fell into their strong defensive shell late. Instead of being overwhelmed by the Ducks, the Flames pushed through to attempt a comeback without scrumming it up and losing it their emotions late. Save of course for Dougie’s cross check on Kesler, but he’ll hopefully learn from that.

All things considered, the Flames were right there for most of the night and just couldn’t find a tying goal late after two goals that came off mental mistakes.

One thing became clear last night: Anyone that thinks the Ducks are going to walk all over the Flames, needs to think again.

The Flames may not win the series but they’re going to go down fighting, and it’ll be a terrific series the rest of the way.

If Calgary can get the split out of Game 2, the Flames could have a very good shot at taking over this series. The Ducks aren’t as invincible as they’ve been out to be, curse or no curse.

Stay out of the box, stay focused, and let’s see what happens.