The Calgary Flames successfully avoided going 0-3 in their playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks with a 4-3 OT victory Tuesday night.
The Flames came from behind twice in the game and rookie forward Mikael Backlund scored his first ever playoff goal to secure the victory.
This group of players have been true underdogs throughout the playoffs so far and have proven they can compete with the best.
This victory was crucial for the Flames. The momentum of the entire series has now shifted. Joe Colborne’s shorthanded goal in the second period ignited the crowd and stunned the Ducks. The question will be if the Flames can score first and keep the lead.
In game three, they lost their lead within five minutes of scoring. Regardless, if the Flames’ players continue to score goals and feed off the energy of the home crowd, they could easily tie the series.
Rookie forward Gaudreau leads the team in playoff points with three goals and four assists. Jiri Hudler is just one point behind with six points. These guys will be looked to in game four to provide speed, energy and goals. This will be a huge test for these young players to find consistency within their game.
The pressure is now on the Flames to tie the series at home. Flames goalie Karri Ramo must raise his game if the Flames hope to tie the series. Ramo ended game three with 18 saves and a .857 save percentage.
The Anaheim Ducks let game three slip through their fingers. However, they still hold two key advantages heading into game four. The first would be the amount of experience within their roster.
Guys like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler have seen it all. Getzlaf and Perry are Stanley Cup champions and Kesler has been to finals with the Vancouver Canucks. These guys know how to react in high pressure situations. Perry currently sits in first place in playoff points with six goals and eight assists and Getzlaf is in second with 12 points to his name.
So, despite the loss, the pressure is on the Flames to raise their game even more. The only thing the Ducks have to do avoid taking careless penalties. Regardless, this series just got way more exciting for all hockey fans.
I can’t wait to see if the Flames can keep the momentum rolling and tie the series. Game four is set for Friday in what’s expected to be another full house at the Saddledome in Calgary.