ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Calgary Flames stressed calm and composure heading into their playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks.
It took only 47 seconds for that resolve to break, the first in a series of critical errors that extended the Flames' woeful record in Orange County.
Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf each scored a power-play goal, John Gibson made 30 saves and the Ducks defeated Calgary 3-2 in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Rickard Rakell also scored for the Ducks, handing the Flames their sixth consecutive playoff loss at Honda Center.
"Two power-play goals and a bad change, it's not like they really earned it that much. We kind of gave it to them," said Flames goalie Brian Elliott, who made 38 saves. "We clean things up, we'll take care of business."
Sean Monahan had a power-play goal and Sam Bennett scored for Calgary, which has lost three of its last four series openers.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Anaheim.
The Flames were the NHL's most penalized team in the regular season and it didn't take long for those tendencies to be put on display. The Ducks had already scored before the tripping penalty against Dougie Hamilton was announced over the public address system, with Getzlaf launching a slapshot that deflected off Deryk Engelland and in over Elliott's right shoulder for a 1-0 lead 52 seconds into the first period.
Silfverberg's game-winner with 2:13 left in the second also came on the power play, snapping a wrist shot past Elliott to capitalize on a goaltender interference penalty against Lance Bouma.
The Flames spotted the Ducks seven chances on the power play in total, including Hamilton's retaliatory cross-check on Geztlaf with 5:49 remaining after the Anaheim captain levelled Mark Giordano to the delight of the sold-out crowd.
"I think we were antsy," said Flames winger Kris Versteeg, who had two assists. "This was the first time for a lot of guys or, if they have been in, the first time in a few years so guys were excited. Those things will happen."
But the Flames still had chances to tie the game, including 1:13 of 5-on-3 play in the closing minutes and a dangerous shot from Johnny Gaudreau that a sprawling Gibson was able to stuff with 17.8 seconds remaining.
Gaudreau and the Flames' top line was at its most dangerous in the second period before penalties and mental mistakes again took Calgary out of its rhythm.
The Flames even held a 2-1 lead midway through the second, thanks to Bennett positioning himself perfectly at the top of the crease to flick in Versteeg's centring pass, only to give it back because of an inopportune line change.
Because of Kevin Bieksa's alert pass the Ducks ended up with a 3-on-0 break, and Rakell cleaned up Getzlaf's shot for his fourth career playoff goal.
"I have to watch it from a different angle because all I saw was just three guys coming. Try to stand your ground but that can't happen this time of year," Elliott said.
Flames coach Glen Gulutzan called it "a big game changer," and Gaudreau lamented leaving Elliott "hung out to dry."
Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said it was appropriate that Getzlaf was on the receiving end of the game's turning point, as he carried over his strong finish since Anaheim's bye week into the playoffs. Getzlaf was also out on the ice for the critical late penalty kill.
"I wouldn't normally use him on a 5-on-3 in the regular season," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "When you're playing in the playoffs, you ask those players to elevate their game because there is so much on the line."
In spite of the loss, falling to 1-7 all-time in playoff games at Anaheim, the Flames expressed confidence they are on an even footing with the five-time defending Pacific Division winners, at least when they cut out the self-inflicted errors.
"All in all, we were still there in the end," Versteeg said. "We had our opportunity to tie it up and we didn't. Let's move on to the next one."
NOTES: Getzlaf has 101 points in 105 career playoff appearances. … It was Versteeg's ninth career playoff game with multiple points. … Ducks D Shea Theodore had two assists for his first-ever points in the playoffs.
Dan Greenspan, The Canadian Press