April 15, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks left wing Jakob Silfverberg (33) passes the puck against the defense of Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
CALGARY, Alberta — The Calgary Flames won’t let a couple bad breaks get them down.
The Flames dropped a pair of 3-2 decisions to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Thursday and Saturday, and now trail their opening-round best-of-seven series 2-0.
“We’ll bounce back from this and have a good home game and get back in the series,” predicted Calgary captain Mark Giordano heading into Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Saturday’s loss was especially tough for the Flames to swallow since they outshot the Ducks 37-29, including by a 15-6 margin in the second period. They also had an apparent goal by Sam Bennett waved off in the second due to goaltender interference on John Gibson before the puck crossed the line.
“I don’t know anymore,” said Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan when asked for his thoughts on the disallowed marker. “I don’t know the rules.”
Making matters worse was that the game-winning goal by Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf on a power play at 15:14 of the third period was actually a pass that deflected off Flames left winger Lance Bouma’s skate and past stunned goalie Brian Elliott.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” said defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who was in the penalty box at the time of the fluky goal.
Despite the deficit they’re facing in the series, Hamilton said the Flames have to stay positive heading back home.
“Obviously it’s going to be fun to play at home,” he said. “We can’t quit. We haven’t quit all season. We’re going to come out hard at home and turn the series around.”
Anaheim right winger Patrick Eaves, who drew an assist on Getzlaf’s game winner, admitted the Ducks got a fortunate bounce to win Saturday’s game.
“We’ll take it and run,” Eaves told CBC during a post-game interview. “You always want to win your games at home, but we know we have a big test ahead of us. They play really well in their building also. We’ll be ready.”
So far, the Ducks have been led offensively by Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg. The trio each scored once in the opener and then duplicated that feat in Game 2.
“I’m sure that they’re happy that they’re scoring and we’re real happy they’re scoring, but there’s other guys that are going to score in this series, for sure,” said Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle, who hasn’t been completely happy with the way his team has played so far.
“This has been a physical series. We’ve had things go our way and we just want to continue with that. Bottom line is we’re going to have to play more than what we’ve played in the first two games — a more complete game when we get into their building and we know that for sure.”
Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen, who was a late scratch on Saturday with an upper-body injury, is questionable to play on Monday although he did make the trip north with the Ducks, who have also been playing without injured blue-liner Cam Fowler (knee).
“We’ve just continued on without them,” Carlyle said. “That’s the sign that our young players are coming in and developing and making a contribution. That’s what’s required to have success long term in the playoffs.”
Despite only having 14 games of playoff experience between them, defensemen Korbinian Holzer, Brandon Montour, Shae Theodore and Josh Manson have played well for the Ducks.
“You’re going to have to use people that historically haven’t played a lot, but they’re making strong contributions and they’re young and they’re energetic,” said Carlyle. “We just have to make sure we provide them with the right environment and put them in the right situations for them to have success.”