Due to the NHL catastrophically screwing up the highlight reel from today's game, you'll find links to individual highlights from each goal below. If you want a laugh... go ahead and watch it. Whoever restored this painting could have done a better job.
Final Score: Ducks 5, Flames 2
First Period Recap: The Calgary Flames came out exactly like I thought they would: attempting to send a clear message that they were not to be taken lightly and had nothing to lose up against one of the top teams in the division.
That lasted about two minutes.
Despite Calgary putting the first two shots of the game on Frederick Andersen's net, the Anaheim Ducks registered the next four and promptly put the heat right back on Calgary starter Reto Berra.
At the 12:20 mark of the first period the Ducks finally broke through. A great zone-entry and blown defensive coverage saw Saku Koivu [YAY he's finally back!] set up Andrew Cogliano down low. Rather than shoot with Berra coming way out of his net and all four Flames collapsing around him, Cogs took a quick look back to the point and found Sami Vatanen wide open at the point. All the Vatman had to do was let a simple slap shot go and he had a wide open net to hit for his third goal of the year. [Note: for some reason this goal does not appear on the NHL's badly-screwed-up highlight reel for this game. You can instead see it here.]
I was listening to Steve Carroll and Dan Wood for this one and just moments before this, Dan noted how Sami Vatanen appeared to be in "Shoot first and shoot only" mode, saying "If he keeps this up he's going to generate some rebounds... if the puck doesn't wind up in the back of the net." Sure enough on his very next shot, Sami proved him right.
Just 54 seconds later the Ducks struck again. Nolan Yonkman fed a pretty nice spinning backhand pass to Ben Lovejoy who ripped a hard, low shot towards the net. Corey Perry got a touch on the puck which sent it between Berra's legs and into the back of the cage. [See it here.]
Even though they didn't score any more, the Ducks completely dominated the rest of the frame, finishing with a total of 14 shots. The Flames only managed six.
Second Period Recap: It was more of the same for the start of the second period and it didn't take long before the Ducks increased their lead again. With Mikael Backlund off for a puck-over-glass Delay of Game penalty, the Ducks power play would strike again as Dustin Penner would find Ryan Getzlaf at the point and then tip in his hard return pass for his 8th goal of the season. [See it here.]
Dan Wood noted that while our power play is still in the league's bottom 10, over the 16 games leading into this one the Ducks were clicking at a rate of over 30% with the extra man. So while the damage may be done for their overall percentage on the season, lately they've been getting it done at a pretty good rate and that's what matters.
Oh, and I miss Oggi's Stix.
Just a few minutes later Calgary would get a lucky bounce and score their first of the game. A seeing-eye shot from David Jones found its way through what had to be about 60,000 people and tipped off the glove of Freddy Andersen, down off his leg pad, and barely over the line. The play was reviewed but the call on the ice stood with no solid evidence to overturn it. [See it here.]
This goal actually proved to be a good thing as it woke the Ducks up from what appeared to be a developing lull.
Not even three minutes later, Andrew Cogliano restored the three-goal lead with what might be a contender for the team's goal of the year. All in one motion, Cogs managed to corral a way over-led pass from Daniel Winnik in full stretch and hoist it on the backhand over the glove hand of Berra into the top corner of the net. [See it here.]
Cogs now already has seven goals on the season when he had just 13 in each of his past two years.
However, once again it appeared the Ducks started taking their foot off the gas early and allowed Calgary back into it. This allowed David Jones to get his second of the night on a delayed penalty against Anaheim. A wayward pass from Saku Koivu deflected off Jones' skate behind the net. While it looked like Koivu may have been interfered with, he also hooked Jones slightly, but not enough to prevent him from skating out to the top of the circle and ripping a quick shot short side over the glove of Andersen. [See it here.]
Calgary did continue to put a pressure on the Ducks, however this too woke them up and they began to push back.
The period ended with the score 4-2 in favor of Anaheim, but the Ducks once again outshot the Flames 15-10.
Third Period Recap: The Calgary Flames replaced Reto Berra with Kari Ramo to start the third period, but it was a case of too little, too late.
The third period was almost identical to the first in terms of the Ducks domination, and took them almost the same amount of time to crack through as well.
An errant pass and miscommunication between Flames defensemen saw them give the puck up to Corey Perry. Perry left a nifty little drop-pass for a crossing Getzlaf, who rifled a pass across the slot which Penner lifted home for his second goal of the night. [See it here.]
Penner is now riding a three-game scoring streak in which he has five goals.
This would be the end of Reto Berra's night as he was then replaced by Kari Ramo.
Ramo would not surrender a goal but his team would not reward him for his four save shortened effort. The rest of the period ticked away rather uneventfully and time expired with the Ducks taking the victory 5-2. It was a resounding win but perhaps the best part of this victory... as far as we know nobody got hurt.
The Good: The Ducks didn't play down to the level of their opponent in a game where they should have won easily. As a result they did exactly that. Likewise, the Ducks' discipline was spectacular and didn't allow a single Calgary power play the entire game. This is made particularly impressive when you consider that Calgary gave the Ducks four of them, and by that point officials are usually looking for any reason to even up the number of chances.
The Bad: The Oggis Stix promotion no longer exists right as the Ducks power play is getting its act together. I think I can speak for Kid Ish as well when I say come on, man. I want pizza!
Oh, and the Ducks once again appeared to take their foot off the gas with their opponent on the ropes rather than go for their throat and really put the dagger in. They're going to lose to better teams if they continue to do this.
The Ugly: The Flames are clearly in a rebuilding mode and despite having some solid young talent already in their lineup, they're still short in a lot of areas, notably goaltending. This is going to be an ugly next few years for the Alberta boys in red.
Next Game: Saturday, November 30th at 7:30pm vs the San Jose Sharks