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.
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 …
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.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
For the fourth time in five years and fifth time in seven the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are meeting in the playoffs. The last two playoff meetings between the clubs have gone seven games with the Rangers winning both. The Rangers won three of four meetings between the two teams during the regular season. John Forslund and Pierre McGuire have the call of Game 1 from Madison Square Garden.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to avoid another second round loss as they play host to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 tonight. The L.A. Kings bounced the Ducks from last spring’s playoffs in seven games. Meanwhile the Flames are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Jonas Hiller, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Ducks, will be Calgary’s Game 1 starter. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call from the Honda Center.
Calgary goalie Jonas Hiller said he wants “nothing more” than to show his former team “made a mistake” in getting rid of him.
And now, the Flames will oblige.
On Monday, head coach Bob Hartley confirmed that Hiller would be the Game 1 starter when the Flames open their second round series against Anaheim — the team that Hiller spent the first seven years of his NHL career with, before being allowed to walk last summer in free agency.
The questions about Hiller’s starting status came after Calgary’s series-clinching win over Vancouver in Game 6. The Swiss ‘tender was hooked after allowing two goals on three shots in the first eight minutes of action, and Karri Ramo played very well in relief, stopping 17 of 19 shots.
(Hartley later said he apologized to Hiller for the hook in front of the entire Flames team.)
Game 6 wasn’t Ramo’s only action of the series. The Finn also got a brief appearance in a Game 2 loss in Vancouver, making a pair of stops in just under five minutes of action.
The Flames employed a goalie timeshare this season, with Hiller starting 44 games to Ramo’s 32 (Joni Ortio got six.) That’s another reason why Hartley was asked about his starter for the Anaheim series; while he made a pretty definitive statement that Hiller is the No. 1, he also acknowledged he’s more than willing to turn to Ramo if need be.
“I’m very conformable with both goalies,” he said.