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."