ANAHEIM, CA -- There are no do-overs. No mulligans. No second chances at Game 1.
And the Calgary Flames, having taken it on the chin in a 6-1 defeat to open the Western Conference Second Round best-of-7 series at the expense of the Anaheim Ducks, know this.
But instead of focusing on the lopsided loss at Honda Center on Thursday, the Flames, optimistically, are looking forward.
Because there’s no time to look back. Only forward.
“If we win on Sunday we’re in a really good spot…I’m not guaranteeing anything here, just saying…we’re in a great spot and we’re back to home ice advantage again,” centre Mikael Backlund said. “You’ve got to look at it in a positive way. Coming into the series we had nothing to lose and still after last game we have even more nothing to lose. We just have to forget about it, enjoy it and have fun. If we play Flames hockey the way we can, we have a good chance to win on Sunday.”
A two-goal lead by the Ducks in Game 1 eventually snowballed on the Flames, who tacked on a goal midway through the third to settle for the 6-1 final.
It's not the desired start to the series.
“I think we try to park it. It is what it is,” winger David Jones bluntly said. “They outplayed us. We’ll just move onto the next game. We’ve got to make a few adjustments here and there on some of the stuff we did. We saw what it’s going to take to beat these guys. In that respect, we take that from it.”
Twice, in February against the Pittsburgh Penguins and in the season finale in April with a limited roster against the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary fell by four goals.
The five-goal margin against the Ducks Thursday is the worst sustained by the Flames this year, regular season or playoffs.
But it counts the same as the others.
“It’s one game,” forward Joe Colborne said. “That’s the way we’re approaching it right now. It could’ve been a heart-breaking, score-in-the-last-minute goal or it could be a game like that. It still counts the same. We have a chance here to split the series and head home with home ice advantage and that’s what we’re looking at. We got beat pretty bad in one game but that wasn’t our best game and we know it. We’re going to have to come out and prove that we can handle these guys.”
The timing to get one out of the way works well, in hindsight.
Game 1 of the series still leaves plenty of time for Colborne and the Flames to prove that they can hang with the Ducks.
Calgary has six remaining games, if necessary, to compete with Anaheim.
“It’s different than if they were up 3-1 or something like that when you have a game like that,” Colborne said. “You don’t want to be behind these guys either. They’re a top team and we know how hard it’s going to be. It’s one game but we know how important Game 2 is.
“That wasn’t our best game by any means, and give them credit. They came in. They were rested and so much for that rust that we were hoping they would have because they came out and they were ready to rock. We were expecting that, too, though. They’ve been through that before. They’ve got a pretty veteran team over there. Their big guys came to play.”
Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and the Ducks brought it in Game 1.
The Flames, admittedly, didn’t.
It's all but forgotten now, though.
“We had a good video session today,” Backlund said. “We saw a few things that we did well and not so well. We’ll learn from that. At the same time, it’s a new game on Sunday. We’re going to have to forget about yesterday and enjoy today. Tomorrow we’ll have a good skate and be ready to go Sunday.”