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Ducks 4 Flames 2: Inside the Game

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

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GAME AT A GLANCE: Please start the engine when the puck drops. That was the message from Calgary Flames coaches as the team readied to take on the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks Sunday at the Honda Center. The Flames accomplished their goal, playing a physical period against the Ducks and emerging with a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

The next 20 minutes, however, were a nightmare as the Ducks became the physical team, cracking Flames into the boards on the forecheck with regularity and scoring four unanswered goals to take control of the game. The game unraveled in a hurry for the Flames as, just 17 seconds into the period noted Duck sniper gone cold Ryan Getzlaf ripped home his first goal in 12 games to tie things up at 1-1. The Ducks would then get power play goals from their two big defencemen, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, and a tally from Ryan Carter on a well-executed break and set-up courtesy of Teemu Selanne, who collected his 670th point as Duck, passing his buddy Paul Kariya to become the leading scorer in the history of the franchise.

The Ducks struck for three goals in the first 6:50 of the period to put the Flames on their heels and outshot Calgary 16-8 in the second period. The Flames had not given up four goals in a period since October 16 in Colorado in a 5-4 shootout loss. Coincidentally, the four goals were also scored in the second period. Starter Miikka Kiprusoff, who could not be faulted for any of the Ducks goals -- he was excellent in the first period -- was replaced for the third period by back-up Curtis Joseph.

Flame centre Daymond Langkow, taking a pass from Kristian Huselisu off the cycle in the Ducks zone, buried a beautiful wrist shot on Jean-Sebastien Giguere, to give the Flames a 1-0 on a Flames man advantage. Wayne Primeau then brought the Flames to within two goals when he scored early in the third period with a working man's goals as he fought off a defender and lifted a backhand past Giguere. That gave the Flames some life for what was a spirited third period which included a late fight between captain Jarome Iginla and Duck Travis Moen. Iginla easily handled Moen.

"We've had trouble out of the gate," said Primeau. "We had a great first period. They scored on the first shift in the second and we got into penalty trouble. Kipper was playing great but with the penalties we took we left him out to dry."

Primeau said the encouraging sign is that the Flames were able to push back in the third period.

"We didn't stop pushing. Hopefully we can carry that through to the next game," said Primeau. "We knew going in that they are physical and they are a big team. It's always like that against Anaheim. I thought we matched it. We just came up short."

THE BIG SAVE: Late in the first period Anaheim's Teemu Selanne tries a quick wrap-around after snagging the puck behind the Flames net but fellow countryman Miikka Kiprusoff stabs his pad back to the post and keeps the score 1-0 for the Flames.
THE BIG HITS: The Flames were the early hitters as Cory Sarich rocked the yappy Corey Perry, a pest much of the game, in the first period. But in the second the Ducks became the hunters and labeled a number of Flames on the forecheck. Notable s were hits by Chris Kunitz on Dion Phaneuf into the end boards and Samuel Pahlsson on Matthew Lombardi in the same spot behind the Flames net.
THE TURNING POINT: As a five-on-three advantage expires the Ducks win a draw and zip the puck back to Chris Pronger who steps into a slapper that beats Kiprusoff to make it 4-1, an insurmountable lead

THE ROSTER: Flames forward David Moss, who missed 18 games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain, missed the game Sunday after hurting his ankle Friday against Los Angeles. The Flames healthy scratches were D Rhett Warrener and F Dustin Boyd. Drawing back into the line-up were F Marcus Nilson and F Wayne Primeau. The latter was one of the more noticeable Flames in the work ethic department. He scored a goal early in the third to make the score 4-2. It was his second goal of the season in just his 20th appearance of the year.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Flames are now 1-2-0 on the current five game trip with games left in Phoenix and Dallas before coming home to face Detroit on Friday. Not exactly as easy schedule. The loss tightened things up in the Western Conference standings. The Flames remain tied with Vancouver for the final spot in the Western Conference one point up on both Colorado (losers to Chicago) and St. Louis (winners over Columbus). Minnesota defeated Nashville in overtime so the Flames are now six points back of the Wild for the Northwest Division lead and three points behind Nashville.

SPECIAL TEAMS: The Flames were 1-3 with the man advantage while the Ducks were 2-4 on the power play.

WORTH NOTING: The Flames replaced Miikka Kiprusoff in the Flames net in the third period as veteran Curtis Joseph was put in for his first mop-up duty since becoming a Flame. It was Joseph's second appearance -- he started a game against Edmonton earlier in the month...Late in the third period two Ducks, Todd Bertuzzi and Corey Perry ganged up on defenceman Robyn Regehr. Flames forward Owen Nolan jumped in to make it an even tussle but was surprisingly given the the extra penalty putting the Flames down a man...As the period was ending George Parros received a kneeing penalty for a knee-on-knee hit with Dion Phaneuf. He caught the Flame on the right knee. Phaneuf was slow to get up but appeared to suffer no long-term problems from the hit.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Ducks are the most penalized team in the NHL, averaging 18.4 minutes of penalties a game...Marcus Nilson collected his 100th NHL assist on Wayne Primeau's third period goal...While the game was very physical, there was just one fight -- heavyweights Eric Godard and George Parros squared off just 2:45 into the third period...The loss is the first for the Flames after leading in the first period. The Flames were 10-0-3 when leading after the first period this season...Craig COnroy had a tough night in the face-off circle, going 5 for 15, just 25%...Mathieu Schneider had a game-high seven shots net...Cory Sarich and Robyn Regehr, defence partners, recorded four hits for the Flames, tops on the team.
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