Flames look to recover their firepower

The Calgary Flames believe they can turn their series with the Anaheim Ducks around if they rekindle their scoring touch at home. The Flames scored just once in two games at the Honda Centre and headed home trailing the Ducks 2-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal.

CALGARY — The Calgary Flames believe they can turn their series with the Anaheim Ducks around if they rekindle their scoring touch at home.

The Flames scored just once in two games at the Honda Centre and headed home trailing the Ducks 2-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal.

“There are scoring chances out there,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley said Monday upon his team’s arrival at Calgary International Airport. “A little bit more focus, a little bit more quickness on retrieving pucks and we’re going to get that red light on.”

Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Friday will be the first second-round playoff games at the Scotiabank Saddledome since 2004. Game 5, if necessary, is Sunday in Anaheim.

The Ducks dominated Calgary 6-1 in the series-opener and also in the first period of Sunday’s Game 2.

Above-and-beyond goaltending from Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo held Anaheim to one goal in the opening 20 minutes. The Flames then recovered to play their best periods of the series in the second and third.

So despite the 3-0 loss, which the Ducks sealed with an empty-net goal, the Flames returned to Calgary with a measure of recovered confidence.

“I though we played better in the second half, but we need to raise it a level,” assistant captain Kris Russell said. “Especially offensively, we’ve got to get another gear here.”

The plot in Calgary heading into Tuesday is whether Hartley continues to shuffle forward lines on the fly in an attempt to heat up the offence.

Calder Trophy finalist Johnny Gaudreau spent most of Game 2 on the third line alongside centre Mikael Backlund and winger David Jones before reuniting with Sean Monahan and winger Jiri Hudler in the third period.

Sam Bennett, who has Calgary’s only goal so far in this series, started Sunday’s game in Gaudreau’s place on the No. 1 line.

“We were trying to generate some offence and get some goals,” Hartley said. “This organization pays me to make decisions and I will try everything I can in order to give our team a chance to win.

“We didn’t get the results, but I saw some good play from everyone.”

Hartley confirmed Monday that 18-year-old Bennett will play his 10th NHL game Tuesday, which means the first year of his entry-level contract officially kicks in.

Ramo will get his second start of the playoffs Tuesday following the Finn’s 31-save performance, including 19 stops in Sunday’s first period.

Whoever plays on Calgary’s top forward line will get a face full of Anaheim’s counter unit of Ryan Kesler, Matt Beleskey and Jakob Silfverberg. That Ducks trio has been effective neutralizing Monahan’s line while inflicting damage of their own.

Hudler and Monahan have a combined six shots and no goals between them, while Beleskey scored in both games in Anaheim.

Calgary’s offence relies heavily on speed and pressure generated by defencemen Russell, T.J. Brodie and Dennis Wideman.

But Anaheim matched Calgary’s shot-blocking prowess and goaltender Frederik Andersen allowed few second chances in the first two games of the series.

The Ducks also controlled the middle lane with the exception of Sunday’s second period when the Flames got speed up through the neutral zone for some sustained time in Anaheim’s end.

“That’s the thing with that team. You have to keep them on the outside,” Kesler said. “You have to eliminate their defence.”

Anaheim is the bigger, stronger and more rested team having swept Winnipeg in the first round.

Smaller, fleeter Calgary has missed the intimidating presence of power forward Michael Ferland, who was a major factor in their six-game series with Vancouver in the first round.

Ferland left in the first period in Game 1 in Anaheim with an undisclosed in injury and was a scratch Sunday.

Calgary is unbeaten in three post-season games at home and scored 14 at the Saddledome against Vancouver in the first round.

The Flames are counting on the Saddledome vibe to help them extend the series and give them another chance at that elusive win in Anaheim, where they’ve won just one game since 2004.

“I think we just need to relax right now and put those two games behind us and realize not many people thought we were going to be in the position we are right now,” Gaudreau said.

“We just need to enjoy the moment right now, have a good time and have fun and enjoy playing hockey right now.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS checking in with local businesses about COVID-19 plan

Alberta Health Services in the central zone is reaching out to local… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the old bunch of false claims about vaccines or COVID-19 that it has already banned. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Facebook says it will pay $1B over 3 years to news industry

Facebook says it will choose which publishers it will support

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program

Photo radar cameras are supposed to “augment” the work of regular police officers, yet 91 per cent of speeding tickets in the province are connected to the devices. (Black Press file photo).
March photo radar locations

Photo radar, mobile units and intersection cameras will be in action

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

FILE - The Paramount Pictures gate is pictured on Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. The studio is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, announced that the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theaters. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
‘Mission: Impossible 7’ will hit Paramount+ even sooner

90-day theatrical window reduced to 45 days

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Defending champion Einarson stays unbeaten in Tournament of Hearts

Players suggest a spectator-free debut made it less intimidating

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 17th hole on his way to winning the Canadian Open Championship at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont. on Sunday Sept.10, 2000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘The Tiger I know is a survivor and a fighter,’ Bill Paul weighs in on Tiger Woods

Woods was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash near Los Angeles on Tuesday

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Most Read