In a game that played out almost exactly opposite to the night before, the Calgary Flames dropped their second home game in as many nights with a 5-4 setback to the Anaheim Ducks.
Sunday evening’s loss to the San Jose Sharks featured the Flames staking themselves to a 1-0 lead before giving up four goals and losing 4-1.
Monday night’s loss to the Ducks featured Anaheim scoring three times in the first period before the Flames clawed back to tie the game early in the second off a pair of power-play goals by Curtis Glencross and an ugly goal by Alex Tanguay off of a broken play. However, the Ducks scored twice more in the third period and held on for the win. Anaheim’s Daniel Winnick and Ryan Getzlaf each scored twice, while Saku Koivu had the other goal for the Ducks.
Lee Stempniak had the fourth Calgary goal late in the third to bring the Flames within one. It was his second breakaway opportunity of the night and came off a gorgeous tape-to-tape pass from the defensive zone by T.J. Brodie.
“It just sort of took me a little while to corral the puck,” said Stempniak of the first breakaway, off an outlet pass from Dennis Wideman mid-way through the second period. “By the time I sort of got the puck I was on top of Hiller. I made the move I wanted but just didn’t get it high enough. I came down, made some adjustments and knew what I wanted to do on the second one.”
Following the game, the Flames coaches and players expressed disappointment with the result. In a lockout-shortened 48-game season, the club was given five of their first six scheduled games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, eliminating a lot of early travel and giving the team the last change. Two games in, the team has zero points to show for the home-ice advantage.
“When we looked at the schedule, we thought we had a good schedule to open – five of six at home,” noted Stempniak. “It hasn’t gone the way we wanted. We’ve just got to get back on track, play well in Vancouver and take it a game at a time. If you let if slip too long, it’ll slide away from you and you won’t be able to get back into the playoff picture. For us, we know the importance of every game and we’ll be ready on Wednesday.”
Flames head coach Bob Hartley shared the sentiments, noting that his club wanted to take advantage of a partisan Saddledome crowd – one that was notably loud and occasionally raucous once the Flames tied the game up at 3-3 in the early second period.
“That’s not the way we wanted to start, that’s for sure,” said Hartley of his club’s 0-2 start out of the gates. “You can’t leave any points on the table. And I felt that we played hard enough to win both games, but we didn’t play well enough to win both games.”
The Flames now hit the road for a meeting Wednesday night with the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, then return home for visits from the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks.
QUICK NOTES: F Steve Begin and D Derek Smith were the healthy scratches for Calgary, who also were without F Roman Cervenka (blood clot), D Anton Babchuk (shoulder) and F Jiri Hudler (bereavement)… The club made a minor roster move earlier in the day, trading G Henrik Karlsson to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a seventh round pick (originally Ottawa’s) in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Karlsson recently was ousted from his back-up goaltender job by Leland Irving following the week-long training camp… The Flames will be vacating the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday, as Oprah Winfrey will be taking over the building as part of her Canadian arena tour… The Abbotsford Heat won their fourth game in a row on Sunday night, a 2-0 win over Milwaukee, paced by the second game-winner in as many games from defensemen Brett Carson. Carson was cut from Flames camp on Friday and was playing his first two games since April.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.