Calgary hasn’t won a regular season game in Anaheim since 2004 and their losing streak there now extends to 14 games. The last time they beat the Ducks in Anaheim was a 5-1 win on January 19, 2004. Even before that, The Flames were too busy watching Mickey and Minnie to play hockey, and have a dismal (1-13-10) record to show for their last 24 visits to Anaheim.
Tonight, Calgary got off to a very slow start and found themselves down 2-0 before twenty minutes was up. Bobby Ryan and Matt Belesky scored about two minutes apart to put the Ducks ahead in the first period.
In the 2nd, Alex Tanguay got the Flames on the board after a hard-working play by Blair Jones. Olli Jokinen Jones and Tanguay broke in on the Anaheim net and after Jokinen slipped a pass over to Jones, he skated the puck behind the Ducks’ net and found Tanguay open at the edge of the crease. Tanguay made no mistake tapping the puck in from the edge of the blue ice to bring the Flames within one goal.
Shortly afterward, the Flames got into penalty trouble. With Scott Hannan already serving two for interference, Jones gave a two-handed kendo-style chop to Teemu Selanne’s face and received a double minor, which put the Flames down two men for a full 1:36. As the cliché goes, your goaltender needs to be your best penalty killer, and in this case it was true. Miikka Kiprusoff put on a clinic and, with the help of both his posts, kept the puck out of the Flames net for the entire PK.
In the third period, something that I haven’t ever seen in a hockey game happened. While backing through the neutral zone, Luca Sbisa made a move to hit Tim Jackman, but instead of using his shoulder, he smashed the side his helmet into Jackman’s face. Head butting isn’t usually something you see in hockey. That’s generally reserved for sports like soccer (remember Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup head butt?) Regardless, it happened tonight and Sbisa received a 5-minute major for headbutting and a game misconduct.
Though they have had their struggles on the powerplay this season, the Flames capitalized with the man advantage this time. The goal was nice… one of those “feel good” goals that give you hope that your team CAN DO IT. With about 90 seconds remaining in Sbisa’s 5-minute penalty, Jokinen found Jarome Iglinla right on the Ducks’ blue line and fed him a perfect pass to send him in on the breakaway. Iggy raced in on Hiller and rifled a hard wrist shot past him for his 20th goal of the season.
The good news is that the goal gives Iggy his 13th straight 20-goal season. While this may sound impressive to any non-Flames fan, we should keep in mind that Jarome now only needs 10 more goals to also record his 13th straight 30-goal season. Barring any major injury or a serious slump (knock on wood here, folks), I think that’s a pretty safe bet. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Iggy has a very good chance of catching all-time NHL record holders, Mike Gartner and Jaromir Jagr, who each have 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons. There’s still a lot of hockey between now and then, but I believe Captain Canada has it in him.
The Flames don’t have much time to lick their wounds as they head up to San Jose for a game on Wednesday.
Here are tonight’s highlights: