But third period comebacks have become the Flames’ calling card this season. And they pulled off another in Game 3 against the Ducks on Tuesday, defeating the visitors 4-3 in overtime to get back in the series. Playing the role of massive underdog, the Flames are still behind 2-1 in the series, but they have a win, with another game on home ice to try and even things up.
Johnny Gaudreau buried a perfect shot on a five-on-three with 19 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. In the extra period, Mikael Backlund won it with a delayed penalty coming to the Ducks.
Yet it looked at times like the Flames might be their own worst enemy.
They got off to a perfect start, with Brandon Bollig giving them the lead 2:07 into the first period. But the Ducks countered on goals from Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry to go ahead.
Flames’ forward Joe Colborne tied the game in the second period with his first career playoff goal — a beauty, short-handed — but Calgary wasn’t able to build momentum and the Ducks once again took the lead just over four minutes later.
And then there was the controversial no-goal call. Sam Bennett’s shot hit off the pad of Frederik Andersen right along the goal line, but a video review couldn’t find definitive evidence to deem it a goal.
There was enough working against the Flames. But, like they’ve done throughout this season, they came back to earn a huge victory.
The Calgary Flames thought they had the tying goal with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period of Game 3 against the Anaheim Ducks, however Sam Bennett’s shot off the pad of Frederik Andersen that appeared from one angle to go over the goal line was deemed inconclusive after a lengthy video review.
At 13:43 of the third period in the Anaheim Ducks/Calgary Flames game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine Sam Bennett’s shot at 13:38. Video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck completely crossed the Anaheim goal line, therefore the referee’s call on the ice stands – no goal Calgary.
The Flames managed to rally, eventually sending the game into overtime. Johnny Gaudreau beat Andersen with a perfect wrist shot with 19 seconds remaining in regulation during a power play.
Of course, the earlier disallowed goal could painfully remind Flames fans of Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, when Calgary was one win away from a championship.
Late in the third period of a tie game with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Flames leading the series 3-2, Martin Gelinas deflected the puck on goal; it hit off the pad of Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and appeared to be over the goal line for the go-ahead goal. But it didn’t count and Tampa Bay went on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games.
Joe Colborne’s first career Stanley Cup playoff goal was a beauty, but unfortunately for him, the Calgary Flames failed to generate any real momentum from it.
During a Ducks power play, Colborne picked up a loose puck at the Calgary blue line, went in alone, faked backhand and slid the puck by Frederik Andersen with a slick move to the forehand, tying the game at 2-2 in the second period.
Just 4:03 later, Matt Beleskey restored the Anaheim lead. Similar story in the first period. Brandon Bollig scored for Calgary just 2:07 into the game. However, what was a perfect start on home ice for the Flames evaporated almost as quickly, with Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry scoring to give the Ducks the lead.
It seemed like the Calgary Flames were going to bring Sam Bennett along slowly, at least until he became a quick study in the playoffs.
After only playing one regular season game, the 18-year-old has been impressive in eight postseason contests. In fact, he’s been impressive enough that the Flames say they’re OK with burning the first year off of his entry-level contract by playing him against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 on Tuesday
“Contracts don’t matter to us,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said Monday. “We’re a pro organization, a very classy organization, and never have I had a conversation with [general manager] Brad Treliving or [president of hockey operations] Brian Burke about the contract of Sam Bennett. They always allow me to play the players that we feel will help us win.
“Sam Bennett will be in the lineup [Tuesday].”
The fourth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft has already made an impact with the Flames. He has four points in this postseason, tying him for fourth in scoring among Calgary skaters. Bennett even spoiled Frederik Andersen’s shutout bid with the Flames’ only tally in Game 1.
One can see why the Flames want to keep him in the mix, especially to show other young players that there are incentives to run with opportunities (rather than contract-related glass ceilings).
That said, it should be an interesting situation to observe in hindsight. What happens if the Flames lose this series in four or five games? Will some question management for getting such little value out of a precious commodity like a cheap rookie contract?
It’s the kind of question that would keep some executives up at night, but credit the Flames for trying to live in the moment. It could very well be the best thing for his development, anyway. Maybe.
PHT Morning Skate: Shero on filling Lou’s well-traveled shoes
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The Bergen Record sat down for an exclusive (and lengthy) interview with new New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero (still kind of weird to see any name other than Lou Lamoriello, right?). The basic theme: he needs more time to really flesh out his plan. (Bergen Record)
Some might not realize just how long Lamoriello’s been in the driver’s seat for the Devils. This NHL.com timeline goes back to 1987, so the answer is “longer than some readers have been alive.” (NHL.com)
Would you pump up Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry for their leadership qualities? The Los Angeles Times is doing so. (Los Angeles Times)
Trading Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin is just crazy talk. (Sportsnet)