SUN Hockey Pool

Flames all fizzle after sizzle

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- The opening period, considered the key for the Calgary Flames to return to their winning ways, was nearly right on target.

They could have checked off pretty much every aspect.

- Come out physical, both in the defensive zone and on the forecheck.

- Receive top-notch goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.

- Open the scoring.

It was exactly the goal after such a dismal performance a couple of nights earlier.

Unfortunately for the Flames, it was a miserable second period that became their undoing in their 4-2 loss last night to the Anaheim Ducks.

At least they had a strong first period to hang their hats on, right?

"Yeah, but we lost the game," said Dion Phaneuf. "We just weren't good enough, that's the bottom line. You can't win if you don't play the full 60 minutes whether you start bad or have a lull in the middle.

"It just doesn't work in this league and it showed again tonight."

Facing a Ducks squad that's starting to hit high gear in anticipation of defending their Stanley Cup crown, the Flames failed to build on a strong first period.

Anaheim, who's now dropped the Flames in the last five meetings at the Honda Center, used a four-goal blitz in the second period to hand Calgary its second consecutive defeat.

"We played a pretty decent first period except for the fact we were still too sloppy in the neutral zone. We had way to many turnovers, and that's an area that really hurt us," said defenceman Robyn Regehr.

"We were skating well in the first and getting pucks out of our zone, but -- and I know the ice isn't very good out there -- we've got to get pucks in behind those defencemen.

"They're too good, they like to stand up, and are very good at making plays and countering on us."

The key moment didn't take long into the middle frame, when Ryan Getzlaf evened the count 17 seconds into the period. All that the Flames created with a solid opening 20 minutes was quickly undone.

Ryan Carter, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger all scored in the one-sided second period.

"They came out and got that goal right off the bat on the first shift and carried the momentum," Regehr said. "We didn't do a good job of getting out of zone in the second period, played too many minutes in there and took penalties, and ended up giving up chances against."

If only the Flames provided more of the same shown before the first intermission in front of the announced sellout crowd of 17,174.

It was a spirited stanza, featuring plenty of bone-jarring hits and even a heavyweight scrap between the Flames' Eric Godard and Ducks enforcer George Parros.

When Daymond Langkow continued his hot hand -- his third goal in as many games -- it set the stage for the Flames to nab the kind of victory they need to stop falling in the Western Conference standings. The team is now 29-22-8.

Instead, it was the Ducks -- winners in six of seven games -- who took over.

"We really got undressed in the second period," said head coach Mike Keenan. "They came at us really hard and took advantage of their powerplays."

Instead of countering, the Flames found themselves in a hole growing deeper and deeper, especially when penalty troubles took control.

"That was a little lopsided, I thought," Keenan said. "They had six or seven to one powerplay opportunities (actually it was a 5-2 edge), including a five-on-three, considering how physical the game was at times."

Wayne Primeau rounded out the scoring, giving Calgary a bit of hope for a comeback with his early third-period goal, but they couldn't complete the task.

Starting goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled after the second period in an effort to let backup Curtis Joseph knock off some of the rust.


Videos

Photos