It was a train wreck made of bad decisions, but there’s still hope that the Calgary Flames can win this series.
It wasn’t meant to be. Instead of breaking the curse of the Honda Center, the Flames added another notch to the bedpost with 28 consecutive losses. Perry, Getzlaf, and Kesler got into their heads and won the psychological battle in game 1.
Before the puck even dropped, Kesler was at Kris Versteeg, chirping and shoving as the ref finally dropped the puck. It didn’t take long, less than a minute and an early powerplay in fact, for the Ducks to open the scoring and take a 1-0 lead. But the Flames found the equalizer on their own powerplay when Sean Monahan batted one home. Later in the period, thanks in part to Sam Bennett and Deryk Engelland who took penalties at the same time, the Flames killed off a 5 on 3 to keep the score tied 1-1 to finish 20 minutes of play.
It wasn’t a bad first period for the Calgary Flames, except their defense needed to tighten up and the offence needed to skate harder after the first 20 if they were hoping to win this game.
The second period was full of sloppy hits and subtle jabs from pairings on the ice. Kesler took after Micheal Frolik in front of the benches, Getzlaf and Dougie Hamilton became friendly in the end zone, and many more players got away with slashing, hooking, and holding calls. The one shining moment of this game came after Versteeg made a nifty pass behind his back to the front of the Ducks net where Bennett snuck in and potted one to put the Flames up 2-1. It would be their only go ahead goal. Tkachuk made a good play at Center ice when he tripped one of the Ducks while on his hands and knees (no call!) and ended up in a tangled mess. The refs skated over immediately before Tkachuk could get himself into hot water, but I found myself yelling, “let them go!” The lack of defense in front of the Flames net was note-worthy as it led to the Ducks tying the game due to a 3-man advantage in front of Brian Elliott. Where the hell were the Flames players? Making a really bad change that left Elliott out to dry. It was 2-2. And then the parade of penalties started when Hamilton took a ridiculous tripping call and Lance Bouma was tagged for goalie interference. The Flames were lucky to be down by only a goal to end the second period 3-2.
That stupid offside review has ruined the game for me. Every time the team is even close to being offside, I find myself hoping they won’t score in fear that a review with reverse the call on the ice. I hate this damn rule.
The third period was a train wreck for the visiting team. Typically, they just can’t beat the Honda Center curse. Johnny Gaudreau suffered with numerous giveaways and bad decisions, Dougie took more stupid penalties, and Mark Giordano took a questionable hit by Getzlaf (the same kind of hit that Ducks fans bitched about when it happened to their team!). No, Ducks fans, Giordano was not wrecked, as you so passionately and eloquently claimed. He was fine and played out the rest of the game. At the end of the game, with very little time left on the clock, the Flames had a sliver of hope as the Ducks took two penalties to give the visitors a 5 on 3. But it wasn’t meant to be. The Flames took the loss and the Ducks took a 1-0 series lead.
My Star Of The Game
Matthew Tkachuk. He was the only player who played consistently well. He played his game, he set the pace when he was on the ice, and he’s too young to allow the curse of the Honda Center to really sink into his mind yet. Tkachuk, with two shots on goal and 2 hits, played hard-hitting, youthful hockey and didn’t let the Ducks interfere with his role.
I didn’t think the Flames would win at the Honda Center last night, but I didn’t realize they’d lose in such epic fashion. What kind of line change was that in the second period?? They realize this is playoff hockey, right? There’s no room for those kinds of massive errors this time of year. But I’m sure they feel shitty enough and won’t allow it to happen again. They let the Ducks and their fans get into their heads before the game even started and that leads the Ducks to win at home every single time.
Let it go, Flames. Don’t let the curse get into your head before you step foot on the ice. Play your game, take control, and you should dictate the pace. If you can allow that to happen, the curse will end.