After overcoming a blown call by the zebras in
Game 3 to win the contest and bring their series to 2-1 against the Anaheim
Ducks, it appeared the Calgary Flames may indeed be a team of destiny. Johnny
Gaudreau snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Frederick Andersen late in the
third period to tie that contest, despite the fact the Flames had technically
tied it just a few minutes earlier if not for the aforementioned blown call.
Mikael Backlund then scored on a seeing-eye shot a few minutes into the first
overtime period. Unfortunately for Calgary, the victory would be the only one
the team would claim in the series as the Ducks’ Corey Perry scored in overtime
last night to give the Ducks 4-1 series win.
The loss was definitely disappointing for the
Flames and their fans, especially considering the team filled with young guns
had a chance to do something no Flames team had done since 2008… win a game in
Anaheim. Still though, the future does look bright in Calgary. The team made
the playoffs when nobody expected to and coach Bob Hartley instilled a sense of
belief in the team’s young core group of players that seemed to carry the squad
all the way through to the second round.
And perhaps the most exciting aspect of the
team’s run is that Norris Trophy caliber defenseman Mark Giordano missed the
latter part of the regular season and all of the playoffs with an injury. The
fact that he was out of the lineup allowed teammates Dennis Wideman, T.J.
Brodie and others to step up their game and fill the gaps. The commitment to
doing whatever it takes to win was evident throughout the end of the regular
season and it spoke volumes as to the potential the Flames’ organization has
Gaudreau and Sean Monahan in
particular produced way more than perhaps anybody would’ve thought coming into
the season and the team also found a way to make it work between the pipes with
former Duck Jonas Hiller playing extremely well early in the season giving his
teammates added confidence in front of him. Even when Hiller struggled against
his former team in Round 2, backup Karri Ramo Relieved him and showed up in top
form giving the Flames every opportunity possible to claim victory against an
Anaheim team who although will face its toughest test against the Chicago Blackhawks
in the Western Conference Finals, appears to be a juggernaut in its own right.
So all in all there’s a lot to be grateful for
and hopeful about now that the Flames are headed back to Calgary to clean out
their lockers for the summer. It was a fun ride while it lasted and the team
demonstrated that the future is indeed bright in Alberta, and not just because
the rival Edmonton Oilers have their sights set on Connor McDavid.
Labels: Jack Choros