The Calgary Flames entered their Wednesday contest against the Anaheim Ducks looking to avoid being swept in a playoff series for the first time since 1996. Starting in goal: Brian Elliott, who looked shaky at best in Game 3.
That shakiness continued early on. Patrick Eaves threw a weak little shot along the ice towards Elliott just 5:38 into the game, and somehow the puck found its way through Elliott to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Eaves' 1st goal of the playoffs was unassisted.
Elliott was pulled after this early goal, which came on just his third shot faced. Replacing him? Chad Johnson, in his first action since returning from injury late in the season.
Well, it didn't take long for Johnson to be bested, either. On just his second shot against, Johnson was beat by Nate Thompson to make it a 2-0 game. The goal came on a rebound, and Johnson simply couldn't recover quick enough to get to the shot. Thompson's 2nd goal of the playoffs came at the 6:46 mark of the period and was assisted by Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry.
Late in the period, at the 16:11 mark, the Flames got a chance to cut the lead in half as Patrick Eaves was sent to the penalty box for holding. On the ensuing man-advantage, the Flames controlled the play for the majority of the time inside the Ducks' zone, but John Gibson was steady and assured. Play ended in the first period still at 2-0 Anaheim.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: 12 - Anaheim Ducks: 9
Playing in his first playoff game with the Calgary Flames, Curtis Lazar appeared to have some good jump in his game throughout the first twenty-eight minutes of regulation. He came up big for Ottawa in the 2015 postseason and had a chance to replicate this success against Anaheim.
One such chance came just shy of the eight-minute mark of the second. T.J. Brodie threw a pass towards the front of the net, and all Lazar had to do was get his stick on it to poke it by a way-out-of-position Gibson. However, he swung and missed, and the chance went by the wayside.
However, the Flames did manage to score on a powerplay past the midway point of the period. With Ryan Kesler in the penalty box, Sean Monahan converted on a one-time pass from Kris Versteeg to make it a 2-1 hockey game. Assists on Monahan's 4th of the playoffs, which came at the 16:07 mark of the period, went to Versteeg and Troy Brouwer.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: 13 - Anaheim Ducks: 9
The Flames poured it on against the Ducks in the third period, getting a number of quality chances against John Gibson.
Just shy of the ten-minute mark of the period, Dougie Hamilton threw a wrister from the point towards the net. Gibson made the save, but he let the rebound lay in the crease. Lucky for him, Mikael Backlund poked it wide.
Another good chance came at the 14:00 mark of the period, when Michael Stone floated a shot towards the net from the right side. Gibson kicked out a rebound right onto the right skate of T.J. Brodie, but the Flames' #7 quickly lost the puck, negating the chance.
The Ducks made the Flames pay for their misses late in the third period. With Chad Johnson pulled in favour of an extra attacker, former Calgary Hitman Ryan Getzlaf sailed the puck into the empty net, sealing the deal for Anaheim. Getzlaf's 3rd goal of the playoffs came with just seven seconds remaining in regulation, and was unassisted.
Shots on Goal
Calgary Flames: 12 - Anaheim Ducks: 7
- Nate Thompson
- Sean Monahan
- John Gibson
- Calgary Flames - 37
- Anaheim Ducks - 25
- Sean Monahan scored a powerplay goal in each of the four games of the series.
- Three Flames recorded at least four points in the series: Monahan (4 G, 1 A); Kris Versteeg (1 G, 3 A); and T.J. Brodie (0 G, 4 A).
- Brian Elliott's playoff save percentage: a delightful .880. He has likely played his final game with the Flames.
- Do you know who has played his final game with the Flames? Dennis Wideman.
- If you're one for aesthetics, you may be pleased to know that the Flames have played their final game with their current uniforms. Hopefully, there will be no blue on their new Adidas ones, to be revealed at the NHL Draft.
Well, the Flames have been eliminated from the playoffs. So, their next big event will be the Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft, to be held from June 18-20 in coincidence with the NHL Awards. After that will be the NHL Entry Draft from June 23-24, and Free Agency beginning on July 1. All of these events will be televised on Sportsnet.
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Kris Versteeg - Sam Bennett - Alex Chiasson
Curtis Lazar - Freddie Hamilton - Troy Brouwer
Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie - Michael Stone
Matt Bartkowski - Deryk Engelland
Brian Elliott/Chad Johnson
Michael Gould is a guest contributor to Fireside Chat who has been covering the Flames on his own blog - Follow The Flames since 2015.