The Calgary Flames were expected to fall — and fall hard — in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Over the first two periods, it was more than true. The Flames saw Micheal Ferland and Jiri Hudler leave the ice with injuries, then fail to return in the second frame. Johnny Gaudreau got banged up with a steep cross-check, and Jonas Hiller was chased from net early on.
It was a predominantly Corey Perry-driven effort that pushed the Ducks first to 2-0, then 4-0, and finally 6-0 in the third period — but although it looked like a shutout was heading for the luck-driven Calgary Flames, Sam Bennett prevented the team from at least staring down a scoreless game one.
Bennett managed to completely turn the play around and take an impressive shot at Ducks netminder Freddie Andersen, finally putting Calgary on the board and reminding fans exactly what the wait was for. After nearly a season held off the ice for shoulder surgery, it seems that the 18-year old phenom is adapting pretty well to being thrust into some tough situations.
Although it’s easy to credit the entire game on Calgary’s end to Bennett, though, a nod has to be given to both Mikael Backlund and David Schlemko — as two of the team’s only players who will finish a disastrous game one with moderately adequate possession numbers or good play to show for sixty minutes of regulation, they both deserve a strong look as part of Calgary’s future regardless of how the second round turns out.