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 moving forward.
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.