CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks learned the hard way that the Calgary Flames still have plenty to play for.
Calgary scored three times on its first five shots and rolled to a 7-2 victory against the Pacific Division-leading Ducks on Tuesday night. The Flames, 13th in the Western Conference and 26th in the overall standings, snapped a two-game losing skid and extended their recent improvement on home ice; Calgary has won seven of its past 10 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Ducks (43-16-7) appeared to be in control of its own fate in their quest for the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy before a four-game losing streak in March that has allowed the St. Louis Blues to pass them. In addition, the Ducks' once-safe division lead over the San Jose Sharks has shrunk to two points.
"To a man, it’s absolutely embarrassing losing 7-2," said Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano. "At the end of the day, our whole team, every man, should be embarrassed."
Calgary (26-33-7) wasted little time extending Anaheim's struggles by getting to Jonas Hiller early.
Mark Giordano stepped into a slap shot from the point that clipped the stick of Anaheim forward Kyle Palmieri and deflected up over Hiller's glove 3:39 after the opening puck drop. It was Giordano's 11th goal, matching the career high he set in 2009-10, and came on Calgary's first shot of the game.
Hiller denied Mikael Backlund's shorthanded 2-on-1 chance on the Flames' second shot but wasn't as fortunate on the third, a TJ Galiardi's tap-in on a pass from Paul Byron's 3-on-1 setup while Calgary was still down a man to extend the lead to 2-0 at 7:10.
Mike Cammalleri's power-play marker at 11:28 made it 3-0 and sent Hiller to the bench in favor of Frederik Andersen.
He didn't fare any better.
With Byron driving to the net, Backlund centered a pass that redirected off Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and over Andersen's pad to extend Calgary's lead to four with 6:32 remaining in the period.
The Flames' first four-goal period of the season was met with a standing ovation from those in attendance as the team departed down the tunnel for the first intermission.
The cheers resumed when Backlund added a second shorthanded goal, his 15th goal of the season, 1:31 into the second period. He snapped a shot through Andersen's legs to put the Flames up 5-0. Calgary leads the NHL with 11 shorthanded goals.
Cogliano got the Ducks on the board at 11:30, taking a pass off the stick of Jakob Silfverberg from below the goal line and beating Joni Ortio.
But with 1:11 remaining in the period, defenseman Ladislav Smid made it 6-1 with his first goal as a member of the Flames. Byron's attempt to drive to the net was denied by Andersen, but he corralled the rebound and spotted Smid alone in the slot. The veteran defenseman found the back of the net for his second of the season and first since Oct. 22nd, a span of 55 games.
Nick Bonino beat Ortio to the blocker side at 7:45 of the third, but rookie Corban Knight scored his first NHL goal with 1:53 remaining to cap the night.
Anaheim's road trip continues on Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Avs moved into third place in the conference and second in the Central Division after a 3-2 victory over Chicago on Wednesday night.
"We have to be better, simply because [Colorado] already beat us 6-1 [in the season opener]," said Cogliano. "They’re playing very good hockey."
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