Other than the first ten minutes of this hockey game, Friday’s contest between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers didn’t see a whole lot of daylight for either side. While Florida ran things early on, the Flames reeled things and had a lead into the latter stages of the third period. In the end, this one went to a shootout with the Panthers scoring on their last two shots to come away with a 3-2 win.
As referenced, Calgary’s start was not a good one, seeing Florida create the first six scoring chances. The Panthers would convert on one, with Sean Bergenheim good for his fifth at 6:57 after a scramble in front of first time NHL starter Leland Irving. Just over three minutes later, even with a lackluster start to this game, the Flames would draw even with Olli Jokinen scoring from the side of the net after a nice rush down the ice. Jokinen’s tenth seemed to wake the visitors up, as Calgary was pretty solid from there on out.
The second period saw each team come away with opportunities and both teams had a good chunk of time with a two man advantage, however neither would score. Scoring chances ended even at seven which was a pretty accurate barometer of the period, as things were pretty even throughout.
An early third period penalty to Florida’s Kris Versteeg gave Calgary their fourth powerplay of the game, and they’d convert on this one. Olli Jokinen would feed a nice pass to Rene Bourque at the right side of the net, and he’d find a way to slip it through the pads of Jose Theodore for the first Flames lead of the game. The remainder of the frame saw Calgary revert into a rather ineffective shell, helping the Panthers rack up the chances in the process. Bergenheim’s second of the night at 15:25 tied this thing as Florida really had the Flames on the run, sending this one to overtime.
Both teams had quality chances in the extra frame with Calgary’s Chris Butler probably having the best opportunity to put this one away. He was thwarted by Theodore and after a five minute extra frame it was off to a shootout. With the Panthers missing their first two shots, Calgary had the edge with Alex Tanguay scoring on their opening opportunitiy. But after Olli Jokinen missed, Dmitry Kulikov gave the Panthers new life allowing Theodore to stop Rene Bourque sending us to extra shooters. Stephen Weiss was good on his shot, Rene Bourque was not, and this game ended in a 3-2 Florida win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? On this night, I really do believe this one was a flip of the coin in a shootout. While Calgary was soundly outchanced overall and at even strength, I never really felt Florida generated a ton of ten bell chances. In between their two goals, the Flames were fairly solid and didn’t allow much. I felt the Panthers were pretty solid start to finish, and they did a nice job chasing once down a goal. In the end, this one probably should have been tied, so you take your chances in a skills competition.
Hey, give Leland Irving some credit! He wasn’t out of this world and nor did he face a ton of ten bellers, but after what looked like a shaky start, he wasn’t too bad. I know he’s not a fan of the two goals that went in or what happened in the shootout, but for a first NHL start, I didn’t think he was terrible. He was out of his mind nervous heading in, and reeled it in as the night went along.
Sum It Up
Well, it’s points in nine of their last 11 games and it’s also three straight losses! I’ll leave that one up to you in terms of how you spin it, but the Flames weren’t horrible on this night. They didn’t have much of anything to start and didn’t do a great job protecting their lead, but lets give some credit to the opposition tonight. Florida played a decent game too and was just as deserving of the win as Calgary, and on this night, they did win. The bad news? The Flames are into Chicago, where they’ve lost their last 11 games.