Well, don't say we didn't warn ya. At some point we all knew that the unforgettable season that the Calgary Flames pieced together would be forgotten, or at the very least fall short of the full Cinderella story that could have been.
However, before the other shoe dropped, the Flames brought some pretty impressive aspects to the series. Although some of the final scores didn't reflect it, the Calgary squad did test the Ducks in several ways, and for that we (yes, once again) tip our metaphorical hats.
I tip my hat to Karri Ramo. You crazy son-of-a-gun, you... Impressed doesn't even begin to explain the level of admiration and respect that you asked for, nay, demanded during this series. You did your job: you kept your team in the game and gave them a fighting chance. You stopped the shots that should have been stopped, and even managed to stop some fluky redirected or absurd ricocheted shots keeping your team well within the thick of things. I don't think that anyone can point their finger at you when the Blame Game begins because you, sir, were an absolute monster between the pipes and a nightmare for your opponents to face.
I tip my hat to Johnny Gaudreau. Well, the future seems pretty damn bright for the Flames considering this rookie tallied a total of three points in five games, and nine in the collective 11 games this post season. Let's put this into perspective: he was born in 1993, which means he was born in the year in which the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.16. Let that sink in, ladies and gents. Don't fight it. To say the future looks bright is a massive understatement considering this rookie has one of the brightest futures and now has some post-season experience under his belt which makes his influence all the more threatening. Note to self: don't want to face Calgary in the next several playoffs.
I tip my hat to Mikael Backlund. Entering the series against the Ducks, Backlund had tallied all of a single point (one assist) from the first-round series facing off with the Vancouver Canucks. Add in the solo goal that he scored in the second-round against the Anaheim Ducks and this might feel a bit out of place but let us recall what goal he scored. Backlund scored the game-winning-goal in overtime during Game 3 which reignited the hope for the Flames, cutting Anaheim's series lead in half. Backlund's only goal in the post-season came at the most opportune time, giving his team a much needed win, and forcing at least a Game 5 with the Ducks only leading the series 2-1 after Backlund's goal.
I tip my hat to the Calgary Fans. We all know that Canadians like hockey. (If that's news to you then we have bigger fish to fry...) But who else felt their jaw graze the floor when the Flames hosted Game 3 among a Red Sea of Flames jerseys. There was a running joke in my household that Calgary fans must get jerseys when they are born. Then again at ages 10, 16, 18, 25, and even 30 (if you're a so-called "late bloomer"). Anyways, during Game 3, the Ducks lead the game going into both the first and second intermissions, however the fans never gave up and helped propel their team into overtime in which Backlund won it.
Finally, I tip my hat to the resiliency of the Flames. How many times did we think the Flames were down and out? How many times did they manage to at least somewhat rekindle a spark that made Anaheim fans everywhere question if they could actually pull off an upsetting comeback. In each of the first four games the Calgary squad stayed pretty on par in terms of shots on goal (let's ignore the shot discrepancy during that fifth and final game for argument's sake, yes?). Even when the Flames seemed to be running on fumes or completely down and out, they managed to at least somewhat scare the Ducks into second guessing just how sure they were of a knockout. This was largely thanks to Ramo, but who cares how a comeback happens? If it happens, they rarely ask how. (Take that from a fan of the #ComebackKids the Anaheim Ducks who managed some pretty gnarly upsets all year).
So, in the wake of a rather emotional series, I would like to thank the Flames and their entire fanbase for an exciting ride through the second round. You all managed to get under the skin of the Anaheim players and flirted with some pretty impressive comeback wins, however you have not quite reached your full potential quite yet. Let's just continue with our digital handshake and I will respectfully say that your future absolutely burns bright (yes, pun intended).