Anaheim Ducks Hold On Late, Edge Calgary Flames 3-2

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Nov 25, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Calgary Flames left wing Michael Ferland (79) collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) during third period action at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks looked to build off their first regulation win in three weeks on Sunday with another strong performance. Coming in to face the Ducks were the Calgary Flames, a surprise team in the NHL with 28 points. Calgary, who edged the Ducks 4-3 in a shootout a week before, sat at third place in the Western Conference, but came to a building where they had not won a game since January 19th, 2004.

The Ducks were able to get that regulation win, staving off a furious rally by the Flames in the final minutes and winning the game 3-2. The week before, the Ducks had a 2-0 lead after two periods, but were unable to make it hold up. This time, the Ducks got into some tense moments with a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, but it was enough.

Matt Beleskey opened the scoring at the 4:37 mark of the first period. Mat Clark made a play to keep the puck in the offensive zone, rimming it around the end boards, where it fell to Beleskey. Beleskey tried to make a pass to Corey Perry in front of Jonas Hiller, but the puck instead went off the skate of Kris Russell and past Hiller to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The goal was Beleskey’s tenth of the season, and it came in just his 23rd game of the season. The pending unrestricted free agent is having a terrific season and is on pace to shatter his previous career high of 11 goals in a season (currently, Beleskey is on pace to score just under 36 goals over 82 games). The assist was also Clark’s first career NHL point.

Perry would give the Ducks a 2-0 lead at the 5:04 mark of the second period. Francois Beauchemin put a shot in the goal area, but Beleskey was tied up by both Mark Giordano and Lance Bouma. Beleskey kicked the puck over to Perry, which never got through all the way, and Perry crashed a seam between T.J. Brodie and Sean Monahan to pocket the goal. The goal was Perry’s 12th, including his first since returning from the mumps. In the four games before Tuesday since he returned from the mumps, Perry had scored only one assist and had a -5 rating over that time. However, he finished sharp on the night, scoring the goal and sporting a +2 record.

Late in the second, Kyle Palmieri would give the Ducks a 3-0 lead with 15.8 seconds left in the period. Palmieri went and chipped a puck past Ladislav Smid while entering the offensive zone, but he took a hit from Deryk Engelland. Despite the body contact along the boards, Palmieri shrugged off the contact and skated into the goal area and sent a backhand shot through the five-hole of Hiller while falling down. In Palmieri’s fifth game back from a high-ankle sprain, he scored his third goal of the season. Rene Bourque recorded a primary assist on the play, his first point with the Ducks.

However, the Flames would start cutting into the deficit in the third. They scored all three of their goals in regulation during the third period last Tuesday, and they would start their scoring in the final frame once again. On a 4-on-4 sequence (Perry was off for unsportsmanlike conduct, Sven Baertschi was off for slashing), Monahan carried the puck in the offensive zone, and after he received a pass from Curtis Glencross from behind the net, Monahan dished the puck to Brodie, who hammered a shot past Frederik Andersen to make the score 3-1 with 8:58 left in the third period. The puck deflected off Devante Smith-Pelly and over the blocker of Andersen. It was Brodie’s fifth goal of the season, setting a new career high for the 24-year old defenseman in just the 23rd game of the season for the Flames.

Flames coach Bob Hartley got aggressive, pulling Hiller with just under 3:30 to go in the game. It seemed that the move would be instantly rewarded, as Johnny Gaudreau got a puck past Andersen with 3:11 left. However, the goal was negated because it was deemed that Gaudreau made a distinct forward kicking motion to get the puck past Andersen, keeping the lead at two for the Ducks.

However, the Flames would get their second goal with 25.4 seconds left in the game. With Hiller pulled for an extra attacker, Brodie made a pass across to Giordano, who slammed a one-timer towards the net. The puck caught the stick of Jiri Hudler, who redirected the shot past Andersen to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Ducks. The goal was Hudler’s eighth, tying him with Monahan and Dennis Wideman for the goal-scoring lead among all Calgary players. Meanwhile, Giordano recorded his 24th point of the season, moving him into a tie for 5th among all NHL players in scoring.

A frenetic finish was in store, but Ryan Getzlaf stepped up and denied the Flames from ever entering the Ducks’ third of the ice. He won the faceoff to start, got the puck in deep in the Calgary defensive zone, broke up a Giordano pass exiting the Calgary defensive zone, and hoisted the puck at the end into the empty net (though the puck crossed the goal line after time had expired).

Though it was a rare regulation win for the Ducks, the inability to finish games strong has to be alarming. The Ducks have won three games in a row, including two straight in regulation. However, the Ducks have scored only three third period goals in their past six games, Calgary played an extremely strong game tonight: they either matched or outshot the Ducks in all three periods tonight, ending the night with a 34-29 advantage in shots on goal. The points and wins are nice, but there needs to be better execution, especially in the later stages of the game.

Here are my three stars of the game.