The game’s first major chance came against the Ducks. Oh my. Ryan Getzlaf made a great move behind his own net, but as he tried to pass to Corey Perry the puck went off of a forechecker’s skate and right in the slot. Gibson was able to make a huge save on Curtis Lazar to keep the score at zeroes.
The Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour pairing was noticeably solid early on. This is huge since the other pairings are jumbled up. Both hit each other with crisp passes, which were essential to breaking out of the zone. With Josh Manson out of the lineup for the first time this season, Brandon Montour was noticeably physical during the opening frame. He received two penalties for cross checking and slashing.
In the middle of Montour’s second penalty, the game started to pick up some pace. Dougie Hamilton took advantage of a soft spot in the ice and snuck down past Ryan Kesler. Fortunately for Anaheim, Hamilton’s shot rang the post. Andrew Cogliano then took it upon himself to pressure the Flames in Calgary’s zone. With some stellar forechecking he forced a Mark Giordano turnover, took the puck to the net, and slid the puck past a sprawling Mike Smith. Cogliano’s goal ties the one and only Paul Kariya for most shorthanded goals in Anaheim Ducks history with 16. 1-0 Ducks.
As expected after Anaheim Calling’s own CJ Woodling’s summary of the “shutdown” line [Editor’s note: Sorry everyone I screwed that up-CJ], the reverse jinx was on. They started the period completely dominated by the Flames forwards. Most of their shifts were in their own zone, and it was difficult for the trio to spend any time with the puck. Cogliano had a small scare by stepping on the puck and going head first into the boards. Luckily he would return to the game. Did you know Kesler is playing injured? If not, the broadcast let you know no less than three times.
It took the Ducks 12 minutes after the Cogliano goal to register a shot. That won’t matter to Randy Carlyle because his team scored on their second of the period. Francois Beauchemin fed Ondrej Kase with a beautiful pass into the offensive zone. Kase stopped on a dime in front of Mike Smith, did a 180, and backhanded the puck between the goalie’s legs. Silky. 2-0 Ducks at 8:58.
The Ducks offensive game can be summed up in one sentence: Half way through regulation, Anaheim was on pace for just 15 shots. Then again that’s okay when you’re playing the struggling Calgary Flames.
On Anaheim’s tenth (!!!) shot, Hampus Lindholm put the Ducks up 3-0. The Flames tried to clear the puck, but it hit the linesmen on the boards. Getzlaf intercepted, threw the puck to Rickard Rakell, and Lindholm did the rest. Lindholm’s one-timer had plenty of juice to get by the late reacting Smith.
The shots after two periods of play were 23-11.
David Rittich took over in goal for the Flames to start the third. Mike Smith would finish with only 8 saves on 11 shots. That’s just not going to cut it for a team fighting a division foe for one of the few remaining playoff spots.
The Flames started to make a push five minutes into the frame. John Gibson had to step up and make some big saves on Dougie Hamilton and the other Flames skaters. Hamilton, in particular, was arguably the most dangerous Calgary player all night. The defender finished with five shots. Johnny Gaudreau also had a dangerous breakaway chance. Gibson stood tall to make the save, but the trailing Korbinian Holzer could not stop in time and ran him over. Thankfully the loose puck trickled to the corner.
The Ducks finished the game with 16 shots but managed to add another goal curtousey of Beauchemin. Big boy Beauch ripped a clapper from the point, which rocketed past a screened Rittich. Perry and Getzlaf picked up the assists. 4-0 Ducks at 17:31.
John Gibson’s 29 save shutout was more than enough to secure the victory. Anaheim will be back in action Friday against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.