How to snuff out a superstar

Oshawa's Cole Cassels  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Oshawa Generals knew they had a tall task on their hands. Facing Erie in the OHL final, the Gens had to figure out a way to stop Otters superstar Connor McDavid, who came into Game 1 with a dizzying 42 points in 15 playoff games. At the end of the night, McDavid had been on the ice for more goals-against than goals-for and the Gens thrilled their fans with a 4-1 win.

If Game 1 was any indication, this series will be fought in both the trenches and the war rooms. Oshawa’s strategy for battening down McDavid was to have Vancouver Canucks prospect Cole Cassels on against the consensus No. 1 pick overall in the NHL draft this summer as much as possible.

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How Frederik Andersen saved Game 4 for the Ducks – in the second period

Frederik Andersen. (Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames started Game 4 of their Pacific Division semifinal appropriately fired up against the Anaheim Ducks. Johnny Gaudreau and Micheal Ferland beat Frederik Andersen twice within the first six minutes to put Calgary up 2-1. The Flames’ were fast and flyin’, Andersen looked shaky and it appeared the series would head back to Orange County tied 2-2.

Gaudreau had a glorious chance to put Calgary up 3-1 in the second period. Maybe he would’ve chased Andersen with a goal, too. Instead, Andersen came up with a spectacular desperation save. Check it out:

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Johnny Gaudreau’s four-Duck dangle is a thing of beauty

Johnny Gaudreau. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers fought tooth-and-nail to produce a goal each and send Game 5 to overtime Friday night. The Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames? They needed, oh, four-and-a-half minutes to find twine once apiece.

Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring for Anaheim 3:58 in. Just 39 seconds later, though, Calgary answered in a big way via its top line. The Ducks have a size advantage over the Flames, no doubt, but the Flames have the edge in…shiftiness. Watch as Johnny Gaudreau dangles every Duck in sight:

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Nothing short of puck sensors would have prevented Calgary non-goal controversy

Ken Campbell
Calgary fan reaction (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The fact that we’re not discussing the Calgary Flames non-goal ad nauseam in Game 3 this morning is a good thing, and good on the Flames and coach Bob Hartley for showing a ton of composure and poise by responding with the tying and winning goals to make it all a moot point.

A thank-you card from the NHL to the Flames should be on its way. Instead of discussing a disputed goal, everyone who is not interested in politics in Calgary is talking about how their resilient group of youngsters has done it again. Read more

If you’re convinced Sam Bennett’s shot was a goal, check this out

Jason Kay
no goal

Sam Bennett’s apparent game-tying shot late in the third period sure looked in, didn’t it? There was white between the puck and the goal-line on the replays and freeze frames we all saw on Tuesday night.

If I were a Flames fan, I would have been red-hot mad, wondering how after the Martin Gelinas no-goal in the 2004 Stanley Cup final the NHL could have blown the same call twice against my team? How could the Toronto situation room possibly deem the evidence was inconclusive?

It’s all about perspective.

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Watch and listen to Saddledome explode as Backlund nets OT winner for Flames

Mikael Backlund (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

With the hometown team down 2-0 in the second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, it was evident Calgary Flames fans inside the Scotiabank Saddledome wanted nothing more than to lose their minds as the Flames pulled out a huge Game 3 victory.

After it looked as though rookie Sam Bennett had tied the game 3-3 late in the third period, the crowd went wild only to be silenced by a review and eventual no-goal call. Then, with 19 seconds left, rookie Johnny Gaudreau found the back of the net with a beautifully placed wristshot that beat Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen.

Even though the cheers for both Bennett’s no-goal and Gaudreau’s snipe were ear-shattering, nothing quite compares to the noise level following Mikael Backlund‘s overtime winner: Read more

Never-say-die Flames send Game 3 to OT with last-minute goal, hand Ducks first playoff loss

Johnny Gaudreau. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The 2014-15 edition of the Calgary Flames has made an art of the comeback victory, and their 4-3 overtime victory Tuesday in Game 3 of their second-round series against Anaheim was one of their best art exhibits yet.

Indeed, it had a last-minute goal in the third period (courtesy of star rookie Johnny Gaudreau, who scored with 19.5 seconds remaining in regulation). It had big contributions from a number of players, including forwards Mikael Backlund (who scored the game-winner 4:24 into OT) and Joe Colborne (who scored his first career NHL playoff goal on a shorthanded play 4:17 into the second frame) and defenseman T.J. Brodie, who chipped in an assist and played a game-high 27:49. Most importantly, it took Calgary from a situation in which they would’ve been down 3-0 in the series to a Ducks team that was unbeaten in this post-season to a situation in which they now can make this a best-of-three series with a second straight win in Game 4 Friday. Read more

Flames grab first lead of series vs. Anaheim after first-period Game 3 goal by Brandon Bollig

Brandon Bollig (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Not only did the Flames find themselves down 2-0 in their second-round series against Anaheim entering Game 3 Tuesday – they’d also failed to even hold a lead against the Ducks in the post-season. But that changed when low-scoring left winger Brandon Bollig recorded the first goal of the night at the Scotiabank Saddledome to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.

Game 3 was barely two minutes old when Flames winger Mason Raymond took advantage of a Ducks defensive breakdown and passed the puck to Bollig, who was all alone in front of Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen and scored to put Calgary ahead: Read more