The Olympic Winter Games in Russia are approaching, with just two weeks of NHL play separating us from world-class hockey. It’s at a weird time of day, but it’s still the Olympics. The Calgary Flames continue to trudge through the first year of their re-build, and actually had a pretty sold week.
The Flames opened their week with a loss, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road to the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Karri Ramo was in net for the loss, while Jiri Hudler and Princeton graduate Kevin Westgarth scored goals. All-in-all, despite the result, the club didn’t play badly. [Post-Game]
On Wednesday, the Flames returned home and hosted the Phoenix Coyotes. The Flames finally snapped their home losing string. Karri Ramo was once again between the pipes, while Sean Monahan, Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan scored. [Post-Game]
On Friday night, the Flames finished their week with a thrilling 5-4 shootout win over Nashville. Four goals by former Flame Eric Nystrom staked the Preds to a 4-2 lead (and chased starter Karri Ramo after three of them), but Reto Berra was strong in relief and the Flames PP was huge in the comeback. David Jones (with a pair), Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund scored, while Sean Monahan had the deciding goal in the shootout. [Post-Game]
Dan Kinvig of the Abbotsford News profiled three young Flames prospects that are sharing a house in the Lower Mainland.
Randy Sportak investigates Boring Sean Monahan. The Twitter account.
A nice profile from the AHL website on Flames prospect Joni Ortio.
Our own Byron Bader took a look at where Sean Monahan’s goal-scoring places him among recent rookies.
Brian Burke explains the thought process behind demoting Shane O’Brien and bringing up Chris Breen.
A LOOK BACK
The Flames are still in 28th overall and enter the week 6 points back of Florida and 5 points ahead of Edmonton (albeit with two games in hand on the Oilers). For the time being, they’re drafting 3rd pre-lottery. But a week with two wins against teams with playoff notions in their heads has to be a huge confidence booster.
Down in Abbotsford, the Heat sit with a 26-14-3-1 record, solidly in 4th place in the Western Conference by about 12 points above the 9th place team. They had two tough one-goal overtime losses this weekend against the hated Utica Comets, losing 1-0 and 4-3. Max Reinhart and Markus Granlund each had a goal and an assist in the second game. Up in Anchorage, the Alaska Aces split a pair of games with the Colorado Eagles.
Many kids had good weeks. Morgan Klimchuk had five points. Emile Poirier, Johnny Gaudreau and Kenny Aogstino each had four points. Bill Arnold had three points. One guy that didn’t have a great week was Jon Gillies. He split his two starts but gave up nine goals. He’s gone 2-3-1 with a 3.21 goals against average and a .886 save percentage since the World Juniors.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Flames have six games remaining until the Olympics. Three home games this week and then three road games to close things out. They host Chicago on Tuesday, San Jose on Thursday and Minnesota on Saturday. And then the next home date is February 27.
The Abbotsford Heat has a pair of home dates, welcoming the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday. The Alaska Aces host the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
On Friday night, the folks at Sportsnet are presenting an opportunity to check out two of Calgary’s more interesting prospects: the Drummondville Voltigeurs (with Ryan Culkin) face the Gatineau Olympiques (and Emile Poirier). Game-time is 5pm MT and it’s on the full Sportsnet network.