<span class="vcard">James O'Brien</span>

Jonas Hiller, Jiri Hudler, of the Czech Republic,

Hiller: Ducks sent Flames a ‘wake-up call’

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It’s tough to move on from a beating as one-sided as the Calgary Flames suffered in a 6-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1. It seems like the Flames are wisely going the “burn the game tape” route.

“They wanted it more than us tonight and that’s a wake-up call for us,” Jonas Hiller said.

The Flames’ struggles in Anaheim are well-documented, and little happened on Thursday to curb such talk … at least for those who tend to cite contextual stats.

“Tonight, they gave us a real good idea of the price we will have to pay if we want to leave this building with a win,” Bob Hartley said.

One concern might be: as much of a wake-up call as this might be, it may not matter if the Flames lost two-thirds of their crucial top line to injuries.

The news was mostly promising after the game in that regard, though.

Hartley noted that Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland are day-to-day, which can mean anything in the playoffs … but at least there wasn’t talk about series or playoff-ending injuries.

The biggest lingering question revolved around Johnny Gaudreau sitting out the third period, but Hartley said he was merely resting the pint-sized star. He also noted that the Ducks were taking too many “liberties” with the standout rookie. (He received a painful looking cross-check in the second period, for example.)

Long story short, the Flames were about as positive as you can expect a team to be after getting thoroughly dominated and suffering some potentially problematic injuries. They also get an extra day to lick their wounds, as Game 2 won’t happen until Sunday.

Doused: Ducks demolish Flames in Game 1

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Ouch. What else can you say about the 6-1 beating the Anaheim Ducks handed the Calgary Flames in Game 1?

When the Ducks chased Jonas Hiller in the second period, some may have held out hope that it would light another fire under the Cinderella Flames. Instead, it became clear that this wasn’t all on him, as Karri Ramo let up just as many goals.

Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were like men among boys in this one, with the Ducks’ dynamic duo grabbing four points each (two goals and two assists for Perry, one goal and three helpers for Getzlaf). The Ducks thoroughly dismantled the Flames to the point that it felt like Anaheim could score at will on Thursday.

Frederik Andersen made some key early saves against the Flames. He likely only regrets missing out on a shutout.

If both Flames goalies struggling and a total embarrassment doesn’t scream “worst-case scenario” enough, Calgary even suffered some injuries in this one. The most worrisome loss is Jiri Hudler, their regular season scoring leader (although they may miss Michael Ferland against the big, mean Ducks as well).

Johnny Gaudreau also didn’t see any shifts in the third period. That could very well be a coach’s decision, but he did take a rough-looking cross-check to the back. Either way, it’s a pretty terrible night for the often-sensational line of Gaudreau, Hudler and Sean Monahan.

The Flames need to search long and hard for positives beyond “it’s just one game” and the continued scoring success of Sam Bennett (who scored Calgary’s lone goal). Perhaps “we’ve been in trying positions before” will work, though.

That said, if Game 1 is any indication, this could be an ugly fall for one of the league’s genuine surprise stories.

It also might be a sign that the Ducks are very deserving of the West’s top seed …

Flames’ Hudler, Ferland banged up in Game 1

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers
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The Anaheim Ducks are obliterating the Calgary Flames in Game 1, and it appears as though the Flames lost some players to injury, too.

Calgary updated that Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland won’t return tonight after suffering … whatever injuries they are dealing with. (It’s the playoffs, this is about as robust as updates are going to get while a team is still active.)

As bad as the Flames are looking, this Game 1 loss would be more significant if these players miss time, especially Hudler. The 31-year-old topped all Calgary scorers with 76 points in the regular season and has been a key part of a fantastic line with youngsters Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

Perhaps there will be a more detailed update regarding those banged-up Flames after the game, but don’t hold your breath.

Rangers try to take ‘tough’ loss (and finish) in stride

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game One
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The New York Rangers aren’t denying the bitterness that comes from their buzzer-beating Game 1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Even so, they’ve generally said all the right things – or nothing at all – about the way things ended. Interestingly, Martin St. Louis provided the most critical take while admitting that he hasn’t seen a replay.

“I haven’t seen the replay but knowing Boyler, my guess is it was bad, and that allowed them to get that chance,” St. Louis said. “If Boyler doesn’t go down, they don’t get that chance. It’s tough to take, the late goal, but it’s how it happened that’s tough to take.”

Here Marty, check out the replay:

It’s likely that Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has seen the replay, but he was probably wise to hold his tongue, as the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports:

Beyond those comments about the goals, the Rangers supplied the usual “race to four” platitudes, which you really can’t begrudge them for (considering the jarring way they lost). It seemed like everyone also used the word “rough” or “tough” to describe the defeat.

Anyway, whatever way they feel, the Rangers must dust this off and get ready for Game 2 on Saturday.

Flames pull Hiller (again)

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five
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If Jonas Hiller manages to foil his former team in the Anaheim Ducks, that bit of revenge won’t come with the Calgary Flames in Game 1.

For the second straight game, the Swiss-born goalie didn’t avoid the hook very long, as he was replaced by Karri Ramo after the Ducks took a 3-0 lead. Hiller at least made it through more game time tonight, as he was pulled 22:13 in after allowing three goals on 14 shots after not even making it through eight minutes of Game 7.

Flames fans can at least keep a little hope alive in remembering that their team seems to play best with its collective backs against the wall, as they did last time Hiller didn’t make it through a full contest.

Here’s the Perry goal that ended Hiller’s night early:

That’s about the only positive spin Calgary can put on another shaky start, though.