The coach was red-faced and visibly angered, and the captain spoke about “unacceptable” mental mistakes.
So was this a repeat of the Ducks’ train-wreck of a loss a few days ago against Florida?
They watched a classic road game, a well-designed defensive effort evaporate in a litany of errors. Calgary erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, scored three goals in the final 20 minutes and emerged with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Ducks on Tuesday night, giving goalie Jonas Hiller a victory against his former team.
Ryan Kesler was the only Anaheim player to score against Hiller in the shootout. Rookie forward Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan scored in the shootout against Frederik Andersen.
“We had total control of the game and then we do stupid stuff in the third period, get lazy,” said Coach Bruce Boudreau, who thought his team played “perfect hockey” in the first two periods.
“It doesn’t take much to get the crowd back into it and the next thing you know it’s 3-2 [Flames]. I’m still pretty upset about the whole thing.”
There was happiness down the hallway. The injury-ravaged, resurgent Flames were celebrating another comeback after mustering a mere seven shots on goal through the first 40 minutes. They mobbed Hiller on the ice after the Ducks’ Corey Perry missed in the shootout, sealing the victory for Calgary.
“It felt great,” said Hiller, who played his entire career with the Ducks before signing with the Flames as a free agent in July.
“Especially since it wasn’t our best two periods. But we talked about in the second intermission and I thought we came out really strongly in the third.
“We had a chance to win it, got kind of a bad bounce on their third goal [by Kyle Palmieri], but we stuck with it, even in the overtime, and you’re happy to get the win in the shootout.”
The Ducks were not the first team to surrender a third-period lead to Calgary. The Flames are outscoring the opposition, 27-12, in the third, something Hiller attributes to the team’s “character.”
Matt Beleskey scored his eighth goal this season for the Ducks. But it was a roller-coaster game for defenseman Sami Vatanen, who had a goal and two assists, but was on for the two goals by Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman in the third. The second came on a superb setup play by Gaudreau, who won a battle with Vatanen in the corner, knocking him off the puck.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf pointed the finger at himself for the third-period collapse. Getzlaf and Perry were a combined minus-six.
“We made some mental mistakes that were unacceptable,” Getzlaf said. “Our line was minus-three. That’ s not acceptable for us and we’ve got to be better.”
The momentum started to tilt with consecutive Flames power plays on consecutive minors by Palmieri in the third period. Anaheim killed off the penalties but the crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome became fully engaged.
Andersen had little work and then gave up three third-period goals in the span of five shots on goal.
“We made a couple of mistakes in the third and it seemed like every one of them ended up in the back of our net,” defenseman Clatyon Stoner said.
Boudreau ripped the officiating in the third period and used the word “horrible,” to describe the calls.
“I thought very weak,” Boudreau said. “Again, it’s tough on them. They’ve got to make calls on an instant. We get to see them on the replay.”