Reeling off the heels of a 4-1 loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks in the home opener, the Calgary Flames will be looking to bounce back when they host the Anaheim Ducks Monday night.
FULL 60 REQUIRED
After flying out of the gates in the opening 20 minutes and peppering Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi with 16 shots, the Flames fizzled in the second, directing just four at the San Jose net. By the time the third period rolled around, Calgary was staring at a two-goal deficit the club couldn’t overcome.
In order to correct that, the team must play a full 60 minutes, according to head coach Bob Hartley.
“We had a great start last night and we didn’t capitalize, but we have to learn some very valuable lessons and today we want a 60 minute effort,” Hartley said.
That message was well received by rookie Sven Baertschi, who was held pointless and had four penalty minutes in Sunday’s tilt.
“I think the thing was last night we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” he said. “You don’t want to do that again. After the game everyone is looking forward to today’s game already. We’re really excited about it. It’s a new chance and a new challenge for us.”
The best way for the Flames to ensure they don’t duplicate their performance from a night ago is simple – bury the opponent early.
Calgary had the opportunity to do just that against the visiting Sharks.
After Lee Stempniak opened the scoring on the power play, both Baertschi and Steve Begin struck iron. Mikael Backlund split Ryane Clowe and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and went in alone but couldn’t beat Niemi. Jarome Iginla was also denied by the glove of the Sharks goalie.
“I’ve watched the game last night when I got home again and we could have been up three, four goals but they don’t count,” Hartley said. “To be close is only good in curling. This game is about burying your chances and we didn’t. It wasn’t by a lack of trying or a lack of execution. I felt our execution was real good.”
Matt Stajan saw the game in a similar light.
“Obviously we’ve got to score on our chances,” he said. “If we do, it’s a totally different game. We set ourselves up a lot better for the rest of the game. We didn’t and you’ve got to respond. We can’t be satisfied with anything because we didn’t win the game. Today we’ve got to bounce back.”
CONTAIN THE BIG MEN
For the Flames to find success against the Ducks, the team will have to shut down a former member of the Calgary Hitmen.
At six-foot-four, 221-pounds, Ryan Getzlaf – who played his junior hockey in Calgary - possesses an imposing threat down the middle that Flames middlemen will have to be aware of.
That’s fine with Blair Jones, who could make his season debut Monday.
“I like playing against the other team’s top centers,” he said. “I’ll play them hard and just make sure he doesn’t have the time and space because he’s a pretty dangerous guy.”
Calgary will need to be equally aware of linemate Corey Perry, a former Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner. Kyle Palmieri is expected to complete the line.
All three will need to be eliminated via teamwork, according to Stajan.
“We have to shut them down as a five-man unit,” said Stajan, who played over 18 minutes against the Sharks. “You can’t expect one guy to just shut down players like that. Whoever’s on the ice has a challenge against that line, has to work together and make sure to keep them to the outside as much as possible. If you do that, you’ll limit their chances.”