ANAHEIM, Calif. â€” Lance Bouma made the right play, the Calgary Flames could agree on that.
What happened as a result left the Flames in disbelief and staring at a 2-0 deficit in their first-round series on the unlikeliest of bounces.
Ryan Getzlaf was credited with the winning power-play goal with 4:46 remaining, John Gibson made 35 saves and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Flames 3-2 in Game 2 on Saturday night.
Getzlaf’s pass struck Bouma’s skate where it improbably redirected into the air and past goalie Brian Elliott to give the Ducks an unlikely win after squandering a two-goal lead.
“Just an unlucky bounce I think,” Bouma said. “Yeah, it’s unfortunate. Not much else you can say about that.”
“He’s taking away the seam pass,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “They hit the seam there it’s probably a goal anyway, so he’s taking away the seam. Bad bounce, terrible bounce. I bet you could do that play 100 more times and 99 times it wouldn’t go in the net like that, it would probably go wide or in the corner.”
Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for Anaheim.
Sean Monahan had a power-play goal, Mikael Backlund scored a short-handed goal and Elliott made 26 saves as the Flames lost their 29th consecutive game at Honda Center.
Game 3 is Monday in Calgary, and the Flames will return home with equal amounts of confidence in long stretches of their play in Orange County and regret at failing to capitalize on those opportunities.
“Oh, it’s tough,” Giordano said. “That’s a tough one to swallow. Thought we did a ton of good things. We had a lot of good looks there in the third. We didn’t capitalize. Thought we did a lot of good things again. We’ll bounce back from this and have a good home game and get back in the series.”
The third period was an even affair up until Dougie Hamilton had to grab Corey Perry’s stick to slow down an Anaheim rush, leading to Getzlaf’s pass and its unintended consequences. But it was the middle 20 minutes that had the Flames both most pleased and most discouraged.
Calgary absolutely dominated the second but only managed a tying goal from Monahan 7:01 in. Outstanding puck movement eventually set up the half-slap shot from Monahan for his second playoff goal in as many games, with Johnny Gaudreau picking up the assist for his 10th career post-season point.
The Flames thought they had taken the lead when Kris Versteeg’s shot was redirected in but the officials ruled that Alex Chiasson and Sam Bennett had interfered with Gibson in crashing the crease. A video review confirmed the call on the ice, leaving an incredulous Flames coach Glen Gulutzan and his bench to continue arguing in vain.
Calgary also had two other power-play opportunities they could not convert, while Matt Stajan nearly came up with another short-handed break in the first minute of the second but the pass from Bouma had a bit too much on it.
“We have looks, we have chances,” Giordano said. “The game was close. I thought the game was decided by a bounce, to be honest. I think that’s how playoffs is and you got to wash that away and move on.”
The Ducks jumped ahead 2-0 just 6:46 into the game on goals from their emerging Swedish stars. Silfverberg put a precision wrist shot past Elliott after 3:21, followed by a cheeky wraparound goal from Rakell during 4-on-4 play after Perry and Versteeg got physical following the whistle.
But the Flames’ lack of discipline inadvertently got them back in the game after Matthew Tkachuk received a double-minor for high-sticking Patrick Eaves in the face. Shea Theodore unsuccessfully tried to chip the puck and keep it in the offensive zone, leaving him flatfooted for the short-handed break by Backlund.
Backlund faked right, cut left and buried his second career playoff goal past Gibson with 1:36 left in the first to give the Flames a lifeline into their strong second.
However, the Flames’ inability to take the lead allowed the Ducks to “take a few deep breaths and get back out,” Getzlaf said.
“Everybody always searches for this secret conversation that happens,” Getzlaf said. “You don’t have to have a magical phrase that you use, or whatever it is. Our group has been around long enough to know what we need to do, and we did it tonight.”
NOTES: Ducks D Sami Vatanen was a surprise late scratch after going through warmups and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Korbinian Holzer made his playoff debut in place of Vatanen. â€¦ Calgary’s last playoff game with power-play and short-handed goals came in its 2015 Game 3 win over Anaheim.
Dan Greenspan, The Canadian Press