ANAHEIM, Calif. – Kicking off an eight-game homestand that extends through the rest of 2023, the Ducks were unable to extend their two-game winning streak as they fell 2-0 to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Lukáš Dostál was sharp, stopping 41 of 43 shots. The 23-year-old has strung together a couple of good starts after a tough stretch that began at the end of November. Dostál was making his third consecutive appearance after a relief appearance for a dehydrated John Gibson on Sunday night and then a start on Monday night. Gibson––whose wife, Alexa, gave birth to their third child yesterday––was available as the backup goaltender for Thursday’s game.
Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish both returned to the lineup after extended absences. Drysdale had been out since Oct. 16––the day after the Ducks’ second game of the season––while McTavish had been out since Dec. 2, when he suffered an upper-body injury against the Colorado Avalanche.
Drysdale skated with Cam Fowler, forming a defensive pairing that has been fairly standard for a majority of Drysdale’s NHL career while McTavish centered Max Jones and Brett Leason as head coach Greg Cronin looked to give his bottom-6 a bit more scoring jump.
“I was just excited to get out there and play some hockey,” said Drysdale, who logged just over 17 minutes of ice time with nearly all of that coming at even strength. “There’s a lot of things that I can do better. Just kind of have to look over the game. It’s a little early to know (right now), but see what I can do for next game.”
“I felt good,” said McTavish. “I feel like I kind of eased into the game. I think I played quite a bit in the third there”. Just getting your legs back, it’s probably similar to (Drysdale) too, he was out a little longer and I thought he looked unbelievable too.”
Penalties and turnovers were the name of the game for the Ducks in this one as they put the Flames on the power play seven times. They did draw four penalties of their own but failed to convert on any of those. Calgary converted just one of those opportunities, but these penalties often came just after the Ducks had gained momentum.
“The penalty killing was all Dostál,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “I think (Calgary) had like 18 shots on their power play, which is incredible, right? And then our power play was just bad, it was a bad night. Couldn’t make a pass, couldn’t shoot a puck. I think it was the worst game we played all year in terms of execution.”
But what overshadowed the result of the game or the Ducks’ poor play was an injury suffered by Leo Carlsson midway through the third period. The 2023 second overall pick tangled with Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar and the two players fell into the boards. Carlsson’s right leg appeared to get caught under Weegar and they fell and the Swede was slow to get up. He had to be assisted off the ice and did not return to the game.
“You can see when Weegar fell on him… in any sport when that happens, it’s not good,” said Cronin. “I’ll leave that up to the medical staff.”
“You just hope it’s nothing too serious and we’ll see,” said McTavish. “Hopefully he’s doing okay.”
“I have no idea how that’s going to go,” said Drysdale. “You never like to see a teammate go down, doesn’t matter who it is. I really hope he’s okay and can bounce back quick.”