Flames drop 11th straight in Anaheim
Ducks' Hiller shuts door on Calgary in 3rd period with 19 saves
The Calgary Flames had no trouble scoring goals on Sunday night. They were hurt by poor goaltending, unlucky bounces and a mental mistake.
As a result, the Anaheim Ducks overcame a 4-3 deficit with a pair of third-period goals for a 5-4 victory.
The loss was the 11th in a row suffered by the Flames at the Honda Center dating back to Jan. 19, 2004. They have only one win in their last 21 games in Orange County since Jan. 13, 1999.
Calgary outshot the home side 19-7 over the final 20 minutes but was outscored 2-0 as Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller shut the door after two shaky periods.
He denied Mark Giordano, Dion Phaneuf, Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen in the final minute of regulation as the Flames enjoyed a 6-on-4 advantage with goalie Curtis McElhinney pulled for an extra attacker and Anaheim forward Corey Perry in the penalty box for hooking.
"We left Hilly out to dry a few times, so we owed it to him," said Ducks forward Bobby Ryan, who scored the winning goal. "He made some incredible saves down the stretch for us and we grinded it out in the third."
Glencross, who had a goal and assist earlier in the game, had the best chance in the final seconds but Hiller stuck out his right pad as other Flames stormed the crease area.
It was Hiller's 11th win in his past 15 starts. The Ducks' netminder stopped 32 of 36 shots.
There were some positives for a Calgary outfit that has lost four in a row:
- Jarome Iginla drew an assist on Jamie Lundmark's first-period goal after failing to register a point in his previous six starts, the captain's longest scoring drought since Nov. 10-22, 1997.
- The four goals is one more than the Flames managed during their just completed three-game homestand and marked only the second time in their last 23 games they have scored more than three goals.
- Centre Olli Jokinen snapped a five-game goalless drought, breaking in alone on Hiller and back-handing a shot through Hiller's legs at 7:05 of the first period to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.
Two other Flames beat Hiller on breakaways. After leaving the penalty box, Giordano got between Anaheim defencemen Ryan Whitney and Nick Boynton at the Ducks' blue-line, skated in and beat Hiller to the stick side to tie the game 3-3.
"He wasn't called upon early in the game, and then we left him hanging high and dry," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle of Hiller.
"They had three breakaways and they scored on all three. But he was really solid in the third period and gave us a chance. Once we got settled down in the third period, our big guys delivered for us."
Glencross put Calgary ahead 4-3 midway through the second period. After blocking James Wisniewski's shot at the Flames' blue-line, he skated the length of the ice and lifted the puck under the crossbar.
"You shouldn't give up three breakaways," Hiller said. "I wish I could have stopped at least one or two of them because it would have made it a little easier at the end. I definitely have to do a better job on those breakaways."
But Anaheim, playing without injured forwards Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Joffrey Lupul, didn't give up.
Perry pulled the Ducks even at 7:10 of the third period with his 19th goal of the season. He watched Matt Beleskey's point shot hit a couple of Flames and find his stick. He quickly spun and lifted the puck over fallen goalie Curtis McElhinney.
Hiller then stood his ground, robbing Jokinen twice and Daymond Langkow on a power play.
Poor line change
A poor line change would later cost the Flames, who failed to get the puck deep in the Ducks' zone. Veteran all-star defenceman Scott Niedermayer alertly wheeled around near his own blue-line and started a rush up the ice.
Ryan picked up the puck in Calgary's end, avoided a check and wired a shot to the corner for his 21st goal of the season in 49 contests.
Troy Bodie had the other Ducks goal, his first in the NHL.
McElhinney, who got the nod over starter Miikka Kiprusoff, allowed five goals on 26 shots in just his ninth appearance of the season.
McElhinney had a chance on Anaheim's first two goals, a tip-in by Dan Sexton, who stood alone at the top of the crease, and Evgeny Artyukhin's shot that found room between McElhinney's body and left arm.
"We had the goal output for sure," McElhinney said. "It's disappointing, my performance. I would have liked a better showing. I feel bad that I let the buys down tonight. They scored four goals for me."
The Flames have little time to dwell on their 17th regulation loss of the season as they visit the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks (31-10-8) on Monday at 8 p.m. MT.
With files from The Associated Press