Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Another big night for Getzlaf, as Ducks take 2-0 lead on Flames

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Flames lost in Anaheim.

Again.

Looking to snap an 11-year winless streak in Orange County, Calgary once again fell short on Saturday night, falling 3-2 in Game 2 of its opening-round series against the Ducks.

Stream Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

Failing to secure a victory — for the second straight game — wasn’t the only familiar refrain for the Flames. Once again, the team was done in by a stellar performance by Ryan Getzlaf.

The Ducks captain put forth his second straight multi-point effort, notching the game-winning goal on the power play with just under five minutes remaining. It was a bit of a fluke tally, as Getzlaf’s centering pass deflected off Lance Bouma and past Brian Elliott.

But it didn’t diminish the impact he’s had thus far.

Getzlaf has four points through two games, and continues to be a driving force with the man advantage. He’s been the main catalyst for a unit that has three power play markers already, this from a group that had a less-than-spectacular regular season (Anaheim’s PP was at 18.7 percent this year, 17th overall in the NHL).

For the Flames, Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan provided the offense. The team did well to recover after a shaky start, in which Anaheim scored twice in the opening seven minutes, and had to be pleased with out-shooting the Ducks 37-29 on the night.

Overall, though, it was another disappointing result.

Calgary has to be beyond frustrated with its inability to get wins at Honda, and is now faced with a daunting challenge. In order to win this series, the Flames will need to beat the Ducks in four of the next five games, and at least one of those wins will have to come in Anaheim.

Video: Bieksa, Ferland renew acquaintances with spirited scrap

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Two years ago, Kevin Bieksa didn’t even know who Micheal Ferland was.

“That Ferkland, or whatever his name is,” Bieksa, then a member of the Canucks, told Sportsnet during an opening round series between Vancouver and Calgary. “[He] was running around trying to get something going.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen that.”

Stream Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

Bieksa and Ferland got to know each other pretty well that series — occasionally with their fists, though often with Ferland running into Bieksa — and, a year later, the two decided to square off again (this time with Bieksa as a member of the Ducks).

On Saturday night, they went at it again.

In an emotional Game 2 between the Ducks and Flames, Bieksa and Ferland threw down in a very spirited tilt near the end of a very spirited second period. The tilt seemed inevitable. Calgary and Anaheim had plenty of bad blood heading into this series — thanks to the Mark Giordano-on-Cam Fowler hit — and it seemed a matter of time before the gloves came off.

Sets the stage nicely for what should be a great third period.

 

Leafs announce Polak done for year

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Some of the shine was knocked off Toronto’s thrilling OT win over the Caps on Saturday night, as Leafs head coach Mike Babcock announced that Roman Polak suffered a season-ending lower-body injury.

Polak was hurt following a Brooks Orpik hit late in the second period. The Leafs blueliner was sent spinning, and his right skate caught the ice and twisted under his body. Early reports suggest Polak suffered an ankle injury on the play.

It’s a significant loss for a Toronto team that was already without blueliner Nikita Zaitsev. Polak played nearly 24 minutes in the Game 1 OT loss, and routinely logs a ton of time on the penalty kill.

As for potential replacements, the Leafs do have Alexey Marchenko in reserve. Babcock could also summon a defender from the AHL Marlies.

 

 

Blackhawks must play angry after blowout loss that ‘wasn’t fun to watch’

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Chicago was the NHL’s ninth-highest scoring team this year, averaging 2.9 goals per game.

Yet through two games of their first round playoff series against Nashville, the ‘Hawks have failed to score a single goal.

Not. One. Goal.

Stream Blackhawks vs. Predators on NBC Sports

After getting blanked 1-0 in opener on Thursday, Chicago laid a massive egg on Saturday night, getting blown out 5-0 by a Nashville team and the seemingly (and, literally) unbeatable Pekka Rinne. Rinne has stopped all 59 shots faced and, to add insult to Chicago’s injury, has racked up two assists — two more points than the entire ‘Hawks team combined.

Needless to say, head coach Joel Quenneville isn’t thrilled.

“[This] takes frustration to a different level,” Quenneville said, per the Sun-Times. “That wasn’t fun to watch. Everyone was responsible, from coaches down to every player.

When asked about his approach for Game 3, Quenneville was blunt.

“One shift at a time,” he said. “That’s how desperate we’ve got to be. Be angry.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures and, make no mistake, these are very desperate times. Teams that take 2-0 series leads hold an all-time record of 305-48 in the playoffs (86.4 percent).

What’s more, Chicago must now try and turn around an anemic offense, one that just became the seventh in NHL history to be shut out at home in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series.

Chicago’s big stars are coming under scrutiny. Patrick Kane said going scoreless through the first two games of the series was “not acceptable.” He finished Saturday’s game with just three shots on goal. Jonathan Toews fired a team-high five on net, but finished the night minus-1 in just 16:46 TOI.

As such, the ‘Hawks have put themselves in an unenviable position heading into Monday’s game at Bridgestone. They need to beat the Preds in four of the next five, and will need to get results in an arena where the Preds were very good this year (24-9-8).

Quenneville is aware of the challenge that lies ahead. But he’s hopeful his charges are up for it, largely because they haven’t played to their potential yet.

“I think we’re a better hockey team that what we showed tonight,” he said. “We need more. Every aspect.

“We haven’t seen anywhere near our best.”

Video: Ducks douse Flames early, score twice in first seven minutes

It’s been 11 years since the Flames have won a game in Anaheim.

Tonight’s start won’t do much to help snap that streak.

After losing Game 1 at the Honda Center on Thursday night, the Flames fell behind quickly in Game 2 thanks to goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell, both scored in the opening seven minutes of action.

Stream Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

Silfverberg’s marker, as seen above, came at the 3:21 mark on helpers from young d-men Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore. It was Theodore’s third assist of the series.

Just over two minutes later, Anaheim was at it again.

Rakell beat Calgary netminder Brian Elliott, thanks to assists from Ryan Getzlaf and Kevin Bieksa. It was Rickard’s second goal in as many games (and the second helper in as many for Getzlaf and Bieksa).

Clearly, this wasn’t the start Calgary was looking for as they look to finally get a victory in Orange County. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there’s still plenty of action left.