Via the NHL
Despite a lethargic middle 40, the Flames were able to go into Columbus and get a win on the second night of a back-to-back, beating the Blue Jackets 4-3. Tonight’s game might not have had the same excitement as last nights, but a few shining moments and a solid overall game from the Flames made the contest fine overall.
The game started with a bang, with Sean Monahan knocking a pretty nice feed from Lee Stempniak past Sergei Bobrovsky for his first NHL goal less than 4 minutes into the period. The Jackets would strike back quickly, however, as Shane O’Brien took an idiotic interference penalty leading to a Jack Johnson goal.
TJ Galliardi would restore the lead with 12 minutes left, showing off a nifty little move after burning past Ryan Murray to undress Bobrovsky and go top ched for his first as a Flame.
Aside: Charlie Simmer took this chance to commend Shane O’Brien for taking the penalty where Johnson scored as the penalty showed grit. Personally, if that’s what grit is, I’m okay with less of it.
Joey MacDonald had a pretty good sequence during the 2nd kill of the period, stopping two deflected pucks in succession. Good to see after a particularly sluggish effort on the first goal – but hell, the guy isn’t that good, so that’s not surprising. The rest of the period was a bit of a tire-fire for Joey Mac – it’s obvious that he’s not going to be an above replacement-level goalie.
There was a break later on in the period where TJ Brodie did about the feeblest roll ever in an attempt to block a pass. Obviously, it failed, but a nice play by Mark Giordano to take out the man rushing in the back door.
Before the end of the period, a nice 3-on-2 rush from the Jackets resulted in a Blake Comeau shot that took two bounces off of Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik’s sticks before ending up in the back of the net. Decent hand-eye co-ordination from Gaborik to knock the puck out of mid-air.
Much like last night, it was a pretty crazy first period. Chances were 7-6 for the Jackets (6-5 at EV) and shots were 14-11 for the Jackets (13-8 at EV).
The second period didn’t have the same scoring to it as the first did, and that was reflected in the chance total. Aside from two close Mikael Backlund chances, the Flames didn’t really legitimately threaten Bobrovsky. The period still had a good pace to it, however.
I don’t know if Joe Colborne just looks slow or is actually slow, but for whatever reason he just looked laboured to me tonight. I’m assuming there were 3 or 4 factors that led to that so I’ll give him a break. However, David Jones doesn’t have those excuses. He looks like he’s skating in quicksand.
There was also two big defensive plays that I noticed in the second – one good and one bad. For the good, Brian McGrattan made a nifty move by picking Ryan Murray’s pocket in the slot. Big Ern appeared to come out of nowhere to start a rush up ice with Street and Bouma. For the bad, Kris Russell made a poor decision with about 6 minutes left in the period to simply throw the puck up the middle of the ice. Russell was under a significant amount of pressure, but that’s just not something you should do as a defenseman for any reason.
Chances were 4-2 for the Flames, all at even strength. Shots were 8-7 for the Flames, 8-6 at evens.
The slow play continued for the better part of the 3rd period until a couple of nifty moves from Jiri Hudler lifted the Flames past the Jackets permanently: a nice little stickhandle in the phone booth type thing and seconds later a rocket of a shot from the left dot put the good guys up 3-2. Curtis Glencross would add another off of a Mark Giordano rebound just 41 seconds later to bring the Flames lead to 4-2.
However, score effects started to rear their ugly head as Columbus pushed back as hard as they could – and eventually they broke through. Artem Anisimov scored from close in late to cut the lead to 4-3, giving the Jackets some life.
A late penalty from Jack Johnson erased any chance of a comeback, however, and the Flames emerged with a 4-3 victory. Shots ended up being 32-30 for the Jackets, 30-24 at EV.
Gotta go with Jiri Hudler – I was impressed by his play the whole night and he seemed to be driving his line with a +3 EV scoring chance differential. Plus, that shot. Yowza.
Why The Flames Won
They were the luckier team tonight. This game was even through 55 minutes of play in basically every way possible until score effects and 2 more goals came into play. The Flames got lucky with one shot and took it from there.
Left = Columbus Right = Calgary
|Home||1||14:04||Johnson (PP Goal)||42||10||13||7||21||72||17||20||5||6||35||5v4|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sum It Up
The Flames return home for Sunday night’s opener with a 1-0-1 record on a back-to-back. That’s not bad at all.
This game wasn’t exactly thrilling, but it was a good hockey game from the Flames against a team that will likely compete for a playoff spot. In saying that, though, it was painfully obvious that this team really needs Matt Stajan back and Joey MacDonald to not play anymore. I guess we’ll see what happens come Sunday.