It’s one of those things that you can’t really think about it. We want to win and we want to snap that streak but at the same time we can’t let it affect the way that we’re playing. - TJ Brodie
ANAHEIM, CA -- It seemed as though the script might write itself.
Jonas Hiller was set to make his return to Honda Center for the first time after spending seven seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. It would’ve been fitting to see the 32-year-old help snap an 18-game winless drought in Anaheim that he, in part, helped continue for more than a few years.
But Disneyland isn’t getting any friendlier for the Calgary Flames. Nineteen in a row it is.
“It’s one of those things that you can’t really think about it,” TJ Brodie said. “We want to win and we want to snap that streak but at the same time we can’t let it affect the way that we’re playing.”
In falling 3-2 to the Ducks at Honda Center, Calgary’s winless drought has extended to 19 games. Their last win in Anaheim remains a 5-1 triumph on Jan. 19, 2004, courtesy a four-assist outing from then centre and now assistant general manager Craig Conroy. Martin Gelinas, on coach Bob Hartley’s bench for the loss, had the game-winner.
They are just two of now-116 former and current Flames players to have been part of the slump.
Nine joined the fray Tuesday, including Hiller.
“I think we have to do better,” Hiller said. “We just can’t hope we win every game in the last five minutes of the game. I think always being down and coming from behind, it might work once in a while and shows a lot of character. We showed it again tonight but I think you’ve got to be ready to play from the first minute on. I thought we got outworked in the first two periods. You can’t just flip a switch and think you’re going to win.”
The loss comes exactly one week after the Flames were able to erase a two-goal, third period deficit and convert it into a 3-2 shootout win. After goals from Matt Beleskey, Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri put Anaheim up 3-0 through 40 minutes, Calgary couldn’t manufacture a similar ending.
They came close, though.
Brodie’s fifth, a new career best, at 11:02 of the third period jumpstarted some emotion late and, with Hiller on the bench and 3:11 remaining on the clock, Johnny Gaudreau seemed to inch Calgary closer only to have officials rule he kicked the puck over the goal line.
Jiri Hudler brought Calgary to within one shortly thereafter. With 25.4 seconds remaining, he redirected a point shot from Mark Giordano behind Frederik Andersen to pull the Flames back to within one.
“We played a great third period,” Hartley said. “They came out hard and I felt that the first couple of minutes we were matching up well and then they got the momentum and that third goal late in the second period, that kind of hurt us but like usual we never quit. We ran out of time.”
Calgary won’t have time to dwell on the loss.
The Flames will look to rebound against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
“It’s always nice to get right back at it after a loss,” Brodie said. “We have to come out and be ready, come out fast and come out hard. We’ve got to find a way to get the lead off the hop.”