Calgary Flames 2 - Anaheim Ducks 1
2nd: 15:32- Stone (1) (Gaudreau/Brodie)
3rd: 8:57- Backlund (2) (Tkachuk/Czarnik)
2nd: 00:12- Silfverberg (5) (Lindholm/Manson)
The Flames played an absolute clunker of a game in LA Saturday night and needed a solid performance in a place where solid performances go to die: Anaheim. But the Flames put their past demons aside, exorcised a few and left Honda Center with a hard fought 2-1 victory.
If the Flames were sluggish, disengaged and overall terrible Saturday night, they were the exact opposite Sunday night versus the Ducks. Calgary hit the ice with a purpose and went toe to toe with the second best team in the Pacific thanks in part to a fantastic goaltending performance from Cam Talbot.
In his second start of the season Talbot stopped 29 of the 30 shots that came his way and was borderline brilliant for the Flames in net. Calgary needed this game to right the ship and Talbot came up huge in the final two periods. He didn’t have a heavy work load in the first 20, but he held his own against a Ducks team that was battling all night long trying to regain a lead that they let slip away. Talbot faced 21 shots in the final two periods, including stopping all four shots he faced while the Flames were a man down.
Both teams really put on a show tonight as this was a fast paced game that is something of a rare sight between these two rivals. Anaheim would open the scoring just 15 seconds into the second period as Jakob Silfverberg would score his second goal of the season giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead. In the past that was a nail in the coffin to the Flames, but this team had other plans, namely Michael Stone. Stone hasn’t seen much of the ice this season, but he made his minutes count tonight. Stone would pepper John Gibson with rockets from the point and on his fourth shot on goal of the night, he connected. Stone would fire an absolute blast past Gibson for his first of the season and just like that the game was tied 1-1.
Each team would trade terrific scoring chances throughout the final two periods, but both goaltenders would be more than up for the task, stopping a combined 16 of 17 shots. The one that made it? That came off the stick of Mikael Backlund. Austin Czarnik’s (added to the second line early in the first) hard work would free up a puck which would make it’s way to Matthew Tkachuk and then to Backlund’s stick and he wouldn’t miss. The Flames centre would fire home his second goal in as many games and the Flames would hold on for a 2-1 victory.
Anaheim has NEVER been an easy place for the Flames to win, but Calgary looked like a team on a mission tonight. Anaheim avoided the nonsense that has plagued these games over the years and instead they just played hockey. It made for a much better game and the Flames were able to play their type of game from the puck drop. Calgary out hit the Ducks 21-15 and they blocked more shots, including a key block by Noah Hanifin in the late stages on the third to keep the Flames lead intact.
Back to back games are hard. Having the final game of a back to back in Anaheim was something that surely could have brought the Flames down, but it didn’t. They battled all night long, chipped away and Calgary looked like a completely different team Sunday night. There’s no goalie controversy at all in Calgary, but the Flames needed this type of start from Talbot tonight. After an embarrassing loss to the Kings the entire Flames team turned it around and got a very big win and two points within the division.
Flame Of The Game
Cam Talbot (G): There were many candidates for this tonight, but Talbot’s play was the best medicine for a Flames team that was struggling. He was able to step in Saturday night and relieve David Rittich and play well and then his play against the Ducks was just what Calgary needed.
10/22: Calgary Flames vs Washington Capitals, 7 PM MT