ANAHEIM - Mark Giordano looked utterly at a utter loss. Baffled. Not so much deflated as plainly mystified.
As if confronted by some alternate reality of injustice that he had no answer to or control over.v
"I can't,'' confessed the Flames' captain, with a soft shake of the head, "explain it …"
Might as well try and explain crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle or Nessie.
"I don't believe in curses,'' continued Giordano, "but it does run through your mind after something like that. After a goal like that. You're like, 'What's going on here?'
"I thought we did a lot of good things. A ton of good things. That makes this one tough to swallow.
"Man, there were a lot of positives. A lot guys brought their A-game. We can't get down. We have no reason to get down.
"We keep doing the right things we'll bounce back from this and get back in this series.
"I go back to Ferly's chance. A one-timer, goes through the guy's legs and the goalie stops it. I honestly don't know how.
"Then they get a bounce like I haven't seen all year …"
Video: Giordano says that was a tough loss to swallow
To play that well. To compete that hard.
To claw back from 2-0 down and draw even in a building that has morphed into your personal Amityville Horror House.
To have a goal controversially chalked off. To have the Anaheim Ducks on their heels and beginning to react in silly, damaging ways.
And then Dougie Hamilton makes a tug on the Corey Perry with four and a half minutes left.
Followed by Ryan Getzlaf's hard diagonal glancing off the right skate of penalty-killing Lance Boumav a full 15 feet away from his net, and executing a swan dive, drooping and dropping beyond goaltender Brian Elliott, with Patrick Eaves taking a cut at it.
That goal, and a difficult-to-stomach 3-2 loss, has the Flames down two games heading back to the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"I was trying to take away the seam and they got a lucky bounce right off my foot,'' explained Bouma afterwards. "Moose (Elliott) was obviously sliding across.
"I'm trying to do the right thing."
No need to explain to the boss.
"Absolutely not his fault,'' said coach Glen Gulutzan. "It's part of the structure of the kill. He gets in the seam, ricochets off his foot and goes in the net. There's nothing to say. That's hockey. He's doing his job."
Video: Gulutzan says Game 2 was hard fought, close game
Prospects grim, trailing 2-0 and being fitted for a toe-tag, the Flames found an elixir to cure all ills in the unlikeliest of places:
Facing a four-minute Ducks' powerplay.
Only 22 seconds after Matthew Tkachuk had been incarcerated for whacking Eaves, out of a scrum along the boards Michael Frolik batted the puck through Ryan Kesler's skates and into the path of his speeding PK-partner Michael Backlund. With both Getzlaf and Shea Theodore in park, Backlund sailed in alone to beat net minder John Gibson.
From a potential 3-0 deficit, or worse, to 2-1 and off the respirator, on a shortie.
Revitalized, Calgary absolutely bossed the second period, outshooting the Ducks 15-6, started to see some exasperation on the part of their rivals, and equalized on a four-way powerplay passing play - Versteeg backward to T.J. Brodie, zipped to the half-boards to Gaudreau who slid a 10-foot diagonal pass into the slot for a whippet-like Sean Monahan one-timer.
Acutally, the were actually painfully unlucky to not be leading after a mucked-in goal off was mysteriously waived off by review for goaltender interference on Sam Bennett.
"I don't know. I don't know anymore. I don't …,'' stammered Gulutzan, biting his tongue, hard, when asked about the rationale behind the decision.
"Gotta take a look at that one again in the back here,'' said Giordano. "It was close. The game was close. The third period was really high pace.
"Is it disappointing? No question. But we've got to wash that one away. We have no choice."
No, they don't. Wiggle room is officially at a premium.
"Crap bounce,'' said Versteeg. "But that happens sometimes. You can't blame anyone on that."
There's no time to curl up in a foetal position now, jam fists into their mouths and bleat about the unfairness of it all.
"We'll claw our way back into this and it starts in Game 3,'' promised Giordano. "I thought we played some good hockey here on the road.
"Our fans have supported us all year. We've had some down times this year.
"I'm sure the building will be loud.
"They'll be there for us."