It Was 4-1

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It was 4-1.

It doesn’t feel any better this morning than it did the night before.

It was 4-1.

I knew going in that beating the Ducks was a long shot. I would have felt more comfortable facing anybody else – Edmonton, San Jose, even Chicago – anybody but the Ducks. The Ducks are not the best team in the NHL by any stretch of the imagination, but they have this effect on the Flames that can’t really be described. Other teams can beat Anaheim – Calgary cannot. It defies all logic. It just is what it is. So I knew our chances going in. I tried not to get my hopes up. My only wish was that the Flames didn’t embarrass themselves and get swept 4 games to none. Well, what can I say other than

It was 4-1.

It hasn’t been all bad. For 40-50 minutes each game, the Flames weren’t an embarrassment. Elliott has made some great saves. The Flames have become more disciplined as the series has gone on. They’ve shown more composure and made fewer mistakes. Monahan, Versteeg, Bennett, and Ferland have really stepped it up. They’ve hung in there with the Ducks in a way I think very few people were expecting. They’ve shown that they’re good enough to compete and honestly, they should be winning this series 2-1 right now. But they’re not. Because for all of the good things they’ve shown, for all of the positive takeaways, there’s the fact that

It was 4-1.

In Game 1, they played great, apart from an inexcusably awful line-change that lead to a 3-0 rush for Anaheim and the fact that they took 7 penalties. In Game 2, they played great again, apart from, once more, stupid penalties. In Game 3, they played great and controlled the game for 50 minutes before allowing a bunch of soft goals to let Anaheim tie the game and win it in overtime. Has the reffing in this series been awful? Yes, for both sides. Has every penalty that has been called been a good penalty? Absolutely not. Have the refs missed a ton of blatant infractions? Of course. Has a goal review gone the Flames way all season? Nope. But guess what? It’s not the refs fault we’re losing. It’s not the fault of Hockey Operations in Toronto, or Gary Bettman, or the NHL. It’s not Anaheim’s fault, or the curse of the Honda Center. It is the Calgary Flames’ fault they are down 3-0. They made the line-change that lead to the 3-0. They took stupid penalties when they knew the refs were calling all kinds of bullshit. They let their foot off the gas when they were up by 3 goals. They didn’t push back. Elliott has played poorly. Gaudreau has been invisible. Hamilton has been a liability. Tkachuk hasn’t been the force people were expecting, nor have Backlund and Frolik. It would be generous to say that even half the team is playing to their potential. They’ve shown that they have the talent to win, but not the experience, the drive, or the maturity. Blame the refs, blame the NHL, blame the Ponda curse and the hockey gods, but blame the Flames most of all, because

It was 4-1.

And now it’s 3-0. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

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