For the fourth time in this young season, the Calgary Flames jumped out to an early lead. For just the second time, however, they were able to hang on and end things in regulation.
Calgary’s surprisingly potent offense has managed to stake them a lead in every game they’ve played this year, but that has also meant a concurrent collapse in just about every contest as well. The Canadiens controlled the puck at even strength for a majority of time through the early going and made a hard push to even things in the third period, but the Flames were able to weather the storm.
The first period was the Sean Monahan show. The Flames kids line managed three of the Flames four chances of the period and scored on two of them. On the first, Sven Baertschi withstood a PK Subban pinch at the Flames blueline allowing the puck to escape. Stempniak sandwiched two Habs in the neutral zone who were trying to retrieve the biscuit, causing it to squirt out to Monahan, resulting in a 2on1 rush. A deft Monahan pass put the puck on Stempniak’s stick in the deep slot. Price stopped the shot, but the rebound deflected directly onto Monahan’s stick in front of the empty net.
On the second goal, Monahan retrieved the puck behind the Canadiens net after a Montreal miscue and spotted Baertschi streaking into the picture at the side of the net. Another quick pass and another flames tap in.
Montreal pressed in between Flames markers, but their superior possession didn’t result in a higher number of chances. By the end of the first 20, the chance count was even at 4-4, but the Flames were the more opportunistic of the clubs.
Calgary went up 3-0 in the second after Glencross tipped a Wideman wrist shot on the PP. Calgary’s special teams, which have been fairly awful to date, looked a lot more controlled and NHL level in this game. PK Subban would break the goose egg with a howitzer from the point before the period would end. The shots were a lot closer in the second (12-11 MTL) and the chance count was again tied at 9-9.
Calgary broke out a bit for the first 10 minutes of the third, with the kid line managing to dictate play for a few shifts. They piled up another three chances after a particularly good flurry and it looked like Calgary might finally walk away with one.
Alas. Montreal took over play for several sustained stretches after that, piling up five straight chances and a Lars Eller goal which made the final minutes more interesting. Montreal may have managed to push things beyond regulation had Subban not lost his cool and taken a needless cross-checking penalty on Lance Bouma with a few minutes left. The minor short-circuited the Habs come back attempt and the Flames finished the game on the PP.
Flame of the Game
Have to pick Monahan. He was 7-3 in terms of chances at even strength and they scored 2 of the Flames three goals. he also had 3 shots on net, more than 15 minutes of ice and was a key contributor to both markers. An excellent game from the teenager.
Why the Flames Won
Because they took advantage of thier chances in the early going and managed to keep the Habs more or less contained aside from a 10-minute period in the final frame. They also got above average goaltending from Joey MacDonald for the first time this season.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sum it Up
Calgary continues to look like an NHL team rather than a guaranteed lottery club. They’re not going to score this easily forever, but it’s not like they are being hopelessly run out of the rink like the 2010-11 Minnesota Wild and gaining points via horseshoes and happy bounces. Calgary looks at least competitive through 4, which is a pleasant surprise.
Next up: The NJ Devils visit the Dome this Friday