Flames Thoughts: Calgary holds on for biggest win of 2017-18

Dougie Hamilton scored with 16 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 over the Anaheim Ducks.

Dougie Hamilton scored the game-winning goal with 16 seconds remaining in regulation time to help the Flames sweep a three-game home stand with a 3-2 victory over the Ducks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.


I called Saturday’s game against the Ducks the biggest so far this season for the Flames, for a number of reasons. So, I can, without hesitation, call it their biggest win of 2017-18. Here’s why:

1) The Flames have had a tough time stringing wins together. With Saturday’s victory, the Flames stretched their winning streak to three games, equalling their longest so far this season.

2) The Ducks have dominated the Flames in almost every way for years. If the Flames are going to take the next step as a team, they’re going to have to find ways to win games against the Ducks. Saturday’s win was their second in three tries against their nemesis so far this season.

3) Going into Saturday’s game, the Flames were three points behind the Ducks in the standings. Coming out of the proverbial four-pointer, the Flames are only one point behind their archenemy and still have two games in-hand.

4) Last, but certainly not least, Glen Gulutzan flipped his lid at practice on Friday. Actually, the Flames Head Coach threw his stick approximately 13 rows deep into the stands at Scotiabank Saddledome, highlighting a profanity-filled tirade that was probably long overdue. Some people didn’t like it. I loved it. I was anxious to see how the players would react to their almost always calm, cool and collected bench boss blowing up. If they hadn’t reacted well, that would have been a bad sign for the coach, his players and the team as a whole.

I’m not sure they could have reacted any better. The players like and respect Gulutzan and that was never more evident than on Saturday, when they got off to a great start against the Ducks. Make it three gutsy wins in-a-row for the Flames.


The Ducks have bullied the Flames for years and Calgary finally seem to have had enough. Matthew Tkachuk fought Ryan Kesler when the two teams met last week. On Saturday, Garnet Hathaway and Sam Bennett dropped the gloves with Derek Grant and Josh Manson, respectively, after the former Flame and current Duck Grant collided with Mike Smith when the goaltender was behind his net trying to play the puck in the second period.

At the conclusion of the middle stanza, Corey Perry bumped into Smith (or maybe it was the other way around…or a little bit of both) when the two players were skating off the ice and Smith immediately turned around and went after Perry.

The only way to get a bully to back down is to stand up to them. After being unable or unwilling to do so for years, the Flames have been doing their best to send the Ducks a message this season. The Flames aren’t going to let the Ducks steal their lunch money without a fight.


Going into Saturday’s game, the Flames were unbeaten in regulation since the start of last season when leading through two periods of play. So when first period goals by Micheal Ferland and Mark Giordano gave the Flames a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes and following 40 minutes, it looked like they were in great shape…until they weren’t.

A little less than two minutes into the third period, the Flames had an opportunity to pad their lead when the Ducks’ Francois Beauchemin was given a four-minute double-minor for cutting Tkachuk with a high-stick. But, instead of potentially putting the game away with a power play goal, the Flames let the Ducks back into it with with a short-handed goal. Less than four minutes after Jakob Silfverberg scored to made it 2-1, Ryan Getzlaf tallied to make it 2-2.

The Ducks had some great chances to take a 3-2 lead as the period progressed, but as he’s done so often this season, Smith slammed the door shut when his team couldn’t afford to give up another goal. Despite Smith’s heroics, it still felt like the Ducks, as they have done so many times in games against the Flames over the years, would find a way to win. But, the Flames flipped the script on their old rival in the dying seconds when, on a great pass from Ferland, Dougie Hamilton dangled in and put the puck past John Gibson with a slick forehand-to-backhand-to-forehand move.

Sixteen seconds later, the horn sounded and the “C of Red” rose to celebrate the Flames’ biggest win so far this season. With it, they improved to 13-0-1 this season and 47-0-2 since the start of last season when leading through two periods of play.


Going into their New Year’s Eve game against the Blackhawks, the Flames had lost more games than they had won on home ice this season. But, with an overtime win in their last contest of 2017, and victories over the Kings and Ducks in their first two games of 2018, the Flames are now 12-11-0 at Scotiabank Saddledome this season.

It’s almost impossible to make the playoffs without a winning record at home, so sweeping their three-game home stand to move above .500 in the once-again friendly confines of the Saddledome was another step in the right direction towards qualifying for post-season play for the third time in four years.


The Flames will start a four-game, seven-day road trip on Monday, when they’ll fly to Minnesota to play the Wild in another proverbial four-pointer on Tuesday. The Flames will try to stretch their winning streak to a season-long four games before they head to Florida for back-to-back games against the Lightning and Panthers next Thursday and Friday, respectively, before they travel to Carolina to wrap-up the road trip versus the Hurricanes.

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