Anaheim Ducks vs CGY
THE. STREAK. IS. OVER. After over 13 long years the Flames have finally won a game in Anaheim. While wild fires raged around Anaheim, the game remained a go finishing in a 2-0 final for the good guys. The Flames only took 30 attempts to finally break the curse at the Honda Center, and boy was it pretty. Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund netted the two goals, Monahan on the PP and Backlund at even strength. This win of course would not have been possible without …..
Flames Player of the Game
Mike Smith. Through three games Smith has obtained the player of the game twice. While there were many other admirable performances (here’s looking at you Jobu), without Smith’s 43 save shutout, the game most definitely would have looked a lot different. Smith has been excellent so far this season, and Flames fans can’t wipe the smile off their faces. For him this was just another game, but to break the curse this early in the season (after last year’s playoff debacle) means a ton for the confidence of the team moving forward.
Bill: I’m so high on this win right now. We can talk about breaking the curse for the next year and it’d still be alright by me. The Flames played a solid game and rolled all four lines. Despite giving up a lot of shots, they limited the high danger chances for the Ducks, and were able to control play at 5v5. If the Flames could have stayed out of penalty trouble in the third, I think it would have been even more obvious that the Flames controlled the pace. At 5v5, Matt Stajan and Johnny Gaudreau dominated, the both of them having CF% of 68% and 67% respectively. Ryan Getzlaf was at 38%. Of course it was his first game after being sidelined with a lower body injury, but it was still nice seeing the player that has often twisted the dagger in the Flames fighting spirit at the Honda Center was effectively shut down. All in all, there are not many bad things can be said about the way the Flames played. They fought a solid battle with the Ducks and they walked away with a win. Smith gave us a few heart attacks with his puck handling and near miss injury, but after three games I’ve learned it’s a good idea to keep a dose of Flames branded epinephrine handy when Smith plays.
John: Yesterday was my parents 41st wedding anniversary. I don’t wanna say that this was the main contributing factor for the win, but lets just say the Flames have never played in Anaheim on this date before. Thanks for falling in love with each-other Mom and Dad. Oh and of course thanks for falling in love with the Flames. While the pure euphoria that washed over me after seeing the final score was unmeasurable, I want to instead talk about our opponent, the Ducks. I would say over the past few seasons these guys have been the true Pacific Division rival that no one mentions first. Sure the Oilers and Canucks have been the main culprits, but boy do I think the Ducks come first on that list. I can’t think of a game in the past four seasons that hasn’t left me infuriated towards at least one player on their team. Ryan Kesler being Ryan Kesler. Corey Perry being Corey Perry. It never changes. Last night though, I found myself questioning what in the world these guys were doing. Corey Perry was baited into a cross check by Mark Giordano, only to receive the extra minor. Ryan Getzlaf was baited into roughing Matthew Tkachuk, well because, he’s Matthew Tkachuk. Finally, Kevin Bieksa stealing the puck from Mike Smith’s first shutout was the cherry on top. For the first time in a while, it seemed as if the Flames were actually the ones who got under the Ducks skin. Yes Ryan Kesler wasn’t in the game, but have you seen both Perry and Getzlaf be coerced so easily into penalties? Does Bieksa really hate the Flames that much? And if so, you lost, do you really think taking the puck is going to phase the team after the game is over? If the Flames can continue that type of grit all season, look for other star players to fall under the same trick. The curse is over for us, but a spell may have fallen over the wounded Ducks.
Karim: I said “Mike Smith is going to get a shutout” so many times during the game I honestly thought it wouldn’t happen. But there he was again, standing on his head and destroying that pointless “streak” at the Honda Center. At least for me, this game proved that Smith is a bonafide number one tender and is going to give the Flames a legitimate chance to contend this year. He’s faced way too many shots in his first three games, but I’m confident that as the defense settles in, the shot volume will go down; he actually set the Flames franchise record for total saves in a shutout last night. Sam Bennett again looked dangerous all over the ice, despite his awkwardly terrible possession number. My favourite moment of the night was unsurprisingly when Getzlaf took a shot at Tkachuk because it feels fantastic to finally get under the skin of some Ducks for a change.
The guy who really stood out for me, though, was Hamonic. Last night’s iteration of the Hammer was the one that I’m expecting to see going forward. He was an absolute force on the back end, and really anchored that line to give Brodie the time and space he needed to jump into the rush and use his offensive abilities to make plays. Watch out for that pairing as the season goes on. Hallelujah for a win against the Ducks, here’s hoping for more of the same against the Kings tomorrow night. In Jobu we trust!
Wednesday: LA Kings vs CGY