The comeback kids from Calgary have done it again.
The Flames were 20 seconds away from going down 3-0 in their second-round series to the Anaheim Ducks. They had what appeared to be the tying goal disallowed due to inconclusive evidence minutes earlier in the third period.
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.
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.
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)
Braden Holtby: money goaltender. (TSN)
5 — The number of power-play goals for the Anaheim Ducks in these playoffs. That’s been huge for them, especially after they struggled with the man advantage during the regular season (28th, 15.7%). On paper, the Ducks’ power play should be deadly. Corey Perry is one of the top snipers in hockey, Ryan Getzlaf is one of the top play-making forwards, and Sami Vatanen is the kind of creative blue-liner that can open lanes from up top. Those three have combined for 11 PP points in six games.
45.6% — Minnesota’s Corsi close, the lowest percentage of all 16 playoff teams. The Wild were one of the top possession teams during the regular season, but facing the Blues and Blackhawks in the postseason has been a challenge. The Wild, like the Ducks, have taken advantage of their power-play opportunities, scoring six times on just 17 opportunities. But they’ll likely need to control a bit more of the five-on-five play if they hope to get back in the series.
.922 — Montreal’s team save percentage, No. 8 out of 16. The Habs had the highest team save percentage (.926) out of 30 during the regular season. And while you can’t say Carey Price has been bad in the playoffs, because he definitely hasn’t been, the Canadiens simply don’t score enough for him to be anything but great.
6 — Times out of nine that the Washington Capitals have surrendered the first goal. They’re 2-4 in that situation and 3-0 when they score first. As a whole, the team that’s scored first in these playoffs has gone 35-20. So yeah, for the most part, it’s been pretty important to get that 1-0 lead.
6.3% — Five-on-five shooting percentage for the New York Rangers, 12th out of 16. The Blueshirts finished the regular season at 8.8 percent, fourth out of 30, with some arguing there was bound to be a regression. Rick Nash, in a related story, has just one goal on 25 shots.
The Anaheim Ducks haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2007. There’s no guarantee that they’ll do any better this year, but they’ve put themselves in a very good position with their 3-0 victory over Calgary Sunday night.
Flames goaltender Karri Ramo made his first career playoff start at the age of 28 and at times it looked like he might steal this game for Calgary. The Ducks bombarded him with 20 shots in the first period, but he turned aside all but one of them.
The exception was Matt Beleskey’s one-timer on a 2-on-1 opportunity:
That proved to be all Anaheim needed because at the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen was also at the top of his game. The Ducks goaltender kicked out all 29 shots he faced to earn his first career postseason shutout. He has a commanding 1.64 GAA and .942 save percentage in six playoff contests this year.
He’s a big part of the reason that Anaheim swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and possesses a 2-0 series lead over Calgary, but he’s far from the only reason. Corey Perry has a league-leading 13 points in the playoffs while Ryan Getzlaf reached the 10-point mark with his two assists tonight.
The Ducks have a long road ahead of them, but they couldn’t have asked for a better start.