Despite some amazing effort toward the end, the Anaheim Ducks could not complete the comeback as they fall to the Calgary Flames 2-1, losing their first game on home ice. They now sit at 6-3-0 but remain in second place in the Pacific Division.
After taking a minute to find their bearings in the first period, the Ducks began to show some good signs of offensive pressure which came to fruition on the first shift of the second period. They kept sustaining pressure but the Flames were able to tie it up late in the period. The Flames built on the lead before the halfway mark of the third and never gave up the lead afterward.
Anaheim showed some great positives with their ability to compete, winning puck battles and generating offensive chances in a hurry, but they fell just short in this one. They’ll have some things to focus on improving (yes the Powerplay is still on that list) but they shouldn’t hang their heads too low on this loss.
Anaheim took a few minutes to get their skates going and caught a break early on. Michael Frolik got behind the defense and had a farely open new but the pass came in a little too hot. The Ducks were able to start generating some chances after that little wake up call, working well with fast rushes after winning neutral zone battles. They got some great chances but just couldn’t quite connect on the across passes.
John Gibson continued to earn his money early on in the game with his first couple of saves being big. After a loose puck battle in front of the net goes awry, the puck finds it’s way to Johnny Gaudreau who wastes no time putting it on net. It gets through Gibson’s legs originally but he’s able to close the legs and keep it.
Not long after he denies the Flames again. Frolik got an open chance with no one around. He skated in and went backhand-forhand but Gibson keeps the pad on it.
Another beauty from Gibby pic.twitter.com/QNcv497sRO— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 21, 2019
Ondrej Kase was looking the best for the Ducks in the first, showing a lot of speed as he generated chances, including drawing a tripping call coming fast through the neutral zone. The Ducks would get a few close chances but couldn’t convert.
The second period started as good as it can with the Ducks getting on the board just 12 seconds in. Josh Manson entered along the right side and fed the puck to Hampus Lindholm coming into the middle. As the Flames players collapsed in, Lindholm found Jakob Silfverberg inside the left circle for the one-timer which beat Talbot.
Ducks would get another powerplay opportunity but it’s the same story, with the team getting some decent looks but unable to cash in on any of them. It even sparked a great chance after the penalty expired. Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg showing their amazing chemistry once again. After getting a turnover and generating an odd-man rush, Rakell got the puck with space as they entered the offensive zone and had everyone sold on him shooting. At the last second he sent a perfect feed to Silfverberg in close. Silfverberg pulled to the backhand but Talcob just barely gets over in time to get the pad on it.
The game turned into some heavy back and forth rushes for each team, but Calgary were the ones able to turn it into something as they tied to game with just over 4 minutes remaining in the period. The Flames got control in the offensive zone and the puck made it’s way to Michael Stone at the point. Stone fired a missle and Gibson, who got screened, never even saw it.
Calgary controlled most of the momentum to begin the third with Gibson making some aggressive saves. The Ducks started sluggish but were able to pick up the speed a bit nearing the halfway mark, even hemming the Flames in their own zone for a stretch of time and generating some good chances.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t last as the Flames get a quick goal after a neutral zone turnover and odd man rush. Matthew Tkachuk entered the zone and saw Gibson aggressively out from the net. He sent a pass across to Michael Backlund for a one-time that Gibson didn’t have a chance on.
It certainly woke the Ducks up however because they controlled the rest of the game. They answered immediately with some chances from the 4th line. Derek Grant put a slot shot off Talbot’s mask and Deslauriers followed it up with ringing a shot off the crossbar and out.
Ducks were able to draw another penalty and get some glorious chances from the likes of Maxime Comtois and Nick Ritchie but continued to just fall short of the back of the net. The remainder of the period Anaheim had the Flames on their heels it felt like as the Ducks generated all sorts of chances from all over. Whether it be Ryan Getzlaf feeding passes into the slot, or Rakell and Silfverberg firing shots from the circles. Anaheim put all their best efforts forward with upwards of 10 scoring chances in the final ten-ish minutes, but couldn’t get it done as the Flames won 2-1.
Best and Worst
Best - I feel it’s almost a cliche at this point to say John Gibson because he’s always a beast for the Ducks and tonight was no different. Overall the Ducks did a great job of generating offensive opportunities and were simply beat by Cam Talbot. They played with a lot of speed and won a lot of puck battles in the offensive zone to keep the play alive. The final score obviously doesn’t reflect it, but the offense was coming from all their lines and they were one bounce away from being back in it, but couldn’t get lucky tonight. It should also be noted that the Ducks didn’t take a single penalty tonight which amazing if we’re being honest.
Worst - Finishing off one-timers and scoring chances. Talbot played a great game, but there were also a lot of missed chances for the Ducks to tie/win this game. Anaheim has the talent to finish plays, they just weren’t getting to it tonight. I can recount several chances where the passing sequence to set up the one-time was perfect, but the shot was just whiffed on or missed the target. Nothing really else to say except start finishing those plays off.
By the Numbers
Shots on Goal – ANA: 30 CGY: 29
5v5 CF% – ANA: 47.62% CGY: 52.38%
Scoring Chances/High Danger Chances For – ANA: 27/13 CGY: 25/8
Three Stars of the Game
John Gibson - Despite not getting the win, the score could’ve been a lot worse if Gibson wasn’t in net to make some big time saves.
The Ducks embark on their second road trip of the season, and will look to bounce back when they face the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Puck drops at 5pm PST.