-- When they’re good they’re very, very good and when they’re bad, they’re horrid.
There’s a huge disconnect between the powerful team that was gritty enough to win 26 one-goal games and lead the NHL and the West for much of this season, and the team that gave up five straight goals to the Flames and fell apart in the second period Wednesday. They’ve now lost three straight games in regulation, the first time that has happened this season.
Did they make too many late-season trades and lineup changes? Did they lose their identity? And how is it possible they’ve given up 83 goals in the second period of their games this season and scored only 66?
“I don’t think it’s the second period. We have lapses during the games,” center Ryan Kesler said Wednesday. “I thought we were playing really good the last two, three games, even when we were losing. Tonight we played into their hands and made our own mistakes.”
They’re consistent only in their inconsistency, it seems.
“I thought we played really good in Vancouver,” center Ryan Getzlaf said of the Ducks’ 2-1 loss there on Monday. “Maybe tonight we got a little frustrated from that game, not getting the results we wanted and not being prepared to do the things we needed to do. We’ve got to keep our momentum going and keep playing hockey.
“This is a tough one to swallow. It’s an emotional game that we needed to put these guys behind us. We gave up two points tonight and they played great. I can’t take it away from them. They came out and responded after those first two goals and didn’t look back.”
-- Coach Bruce Boudreau left goaltender John Gibson in the game because he didn’t fault Gibson for what happened.
“They had three chances to score but they were Grade A scoring chances. It wasn’t like they just got a little chance,” Boudreau said of the Flames’ scoring three times on four shots in the second period.
“We make some really bad reads on them, we don’t take a guy in front of the net, and there’s nothing our goalie can do about these shots. Our goalie, I didn’t think, could do much on any of them. I didn’t think he was any sort of the problem whatsoever. In the first period when they tied it up he made a couple great saves to keep it at two. The goaltending wasn’t our problem.”
The defense gets most of the blame for this one, with Getzlaf shouldering some of the burden for the two second-period penalties he took that led to Calgary power-play goals. Overall, it’s a loss that should bother every player who was in that lineup.
-- Left wing Matt Beleskey, who has missed 12 games because of a shoulder injury, might be close to returning. He was activated off injured reserve in time to participate in the warmups Wednesday, a key step toward getting him back into the lineup. Beleskey was having a career season with 21 goals and 30 points in 56 games.
-- The Flames are fast and persistent and could be a tough opponent if they make the playoffs. They helped their chances Wednesday and continue to win despite losing mainstay defenseman Mark Giordano to season-ending biceps surgery.
“They’re a youthful team that just plays no matter what the situation,” Getzlaf said. “There’s that old saying, dumb kids don’t know any better and they just play. I’ve been in that situation. No matter what it is, nothing rattles you, and they did that tonight and they got the results.”
Did the Ducks learn from that? We'll see. They have another tough opponent, the hot Minnesota Wild, on Friday to wrap up this trip. It will be interesting to see whether they bounce back in that game or allow thier inconsistency to continue.