ANAHEIM, CA -- The Calgary Flames can do the math. Four wins, six games. Three at home.
That means at least one win has to come at Honda Center to advance.
So, in looking to bounce back from a lopsided 6-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round series, the Flames figure a split in sunny California by winning Game 2 on Sunday adds up to returning to Calgary with momentum.
“We knew going into the last series that we would have to win one in the opposition's building, we knew this series we were going to have to do the same thing,” Flames forward Brandon Bollig said. “Obviously tonight would be a key time to do that. For us, our focus is to take it one game at a time, one period at a time and tonight is a good test for us.
“I think we're a character team, we're a hard-working team. We're resilient, we've battled back from a lot of deficits and tonight will be a good test for us in showing how much character we have.”
A short memory wouldn’t hurt, either.
Calgary fell behind by two after 20 minutes in Game 1. Four after 40. The final read 6-1 in what amounted to the Flames most lopsided loss of the year, either in regular season or playoff form.
And having two full days between games has helped allow coach Bob Hartley’s club to regroup heading into Game 2.
“Two days ago we had a meeting, we did video and then we kicked them out of the building. We told them to go have a nice meal, go and have fun as a group,” Hartley said. “Yesterday we had a great practice. Last night we had a team meal with everyone. Look at the fun, the energy that they have this morning. They’re a bunch of kids. Maybe we don’t feel pressure. We understand where we’re at. We understand what we can win with this, but at the same time it’s a bunch of kids being led by a great bunch of veterans and everyone’s doing a great job.”
Amnesia over Game 1’s loss has already started to set in amongst Hartley’s troops.
It’s in the rearview.
“It definitely feels like we’ve been here for a while now,” forward Joe Colborne said. “I think it was a bit of a blessing for us, gave us a chance to regroup and now we’re ready to go and kind of moved on from it. We’re a pretty upbeat group in here right now.”
Sunny California will have that effect.
“Being out here where the weather is nice and you can step away from the game for a day and clear your mind that's huge for us,” he said. “That's going to be key, especially with young guys that haven't been there that haven't suffered a loss like that in the post season. They can step away and clear their minds and come back yesterday and have a good skate and get back at it today.
“I think that's big for us and I don't think it's common that you have an extra day like that but luckily it worked out like that for us and we were able to step away from the game.”
But now, it’s time to get back to it.
And Game 2 is pivotal to the Flames moving forward against the Ducks.
“There's plenty of things to learn from last game but also you have to forget about it, you have to have a fresh start,” Bollig said. “The great thing about playoffs is that it's a series and there's no tiebreakers, there's no goal differential -- it doesn't matter how many goals you lose by in a game, you're just down by one game. We know that, we're obviously looking to win tonight and get the series back to even and go from there.
“If we get the win tonight then we have home-ice advantage the rest of the series and we know that. We know how big the crowd is in Calgary. We know how advantageous it is for us. We have to look to come tonight and get a job done and mean business and win battles. We know they’re going to come out flying, we know they're going to come out hitting and we have to match that and surpass that and play our game.”
“It’s playoffs. They are going to be ready, lets not kid ourselves. Whatever team gets the first win, they got the perfect amount of rest and the other team didn’t. I don’t read too much into that. We’re all pros here and we’re all paid to do a job. We’ve got to come out the way we came out in Game 1 in Vancouver.”
FLAMES PROJECTED LINEUP
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne
Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Brandon Bollig - Josh Jooris - Drew Shore
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland
David Schlemko - Tyler Wotherspoon
Karri Ramo will start his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs game against the Ducks on Sunday. Hartley said Micheal Ferland and Jiri Hudler, who both left Game 1 due to undisclosed injuries, “will probably play.” David Wolf could draw into the game should either forward not be ready to go. Raphael Diaz, who is expected to be a game-time decision, isn't likely to play.
Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Ducks will be broadcast on Sportsnet (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio). Game time is 8:00 PM MT. Channel numbers for Telus, Shaw, and Bell users can be found on the Broadcast Schedule page.
The Calgary Flames official Twitter account (@NHLFlames) will be live-tweeting the game and providing pre and post-game content. Fans can also follow along on the Flames official Instagram account (@NHLFlames) for exclusive, behind-the-scenes content. Use the hashtags #NeverQuit and #CGYvsANA.
The Calgary Flames official app is another way to follow along with the action, with goal and period summary notifications. The app is free and available to download on iTunes and Google Play.