So…uh, let’s be real Flames fans. The Flames are suffering from a few injuries. Backlund, Colborne, Stajan, MayRay, all hurting, all out of the lineup. So naturally, there was a pressing need for some warm bodies to step in during their absence, and the kids that were brought into the lineup paid immediate dividends.
Brian McGrattan was also there.
So while (spoiler alert) things ended unfavourably for Michael Ferland in his NHL debut, he was quite good in the beginning, and superpal youngsters Johnny Gaudreau and Markus Granlund were electrifying. The result: a perhaps surprising hard fought win over a better than you realize Nashville Predators.
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: This was a fun win. Just a real treat of a game to watch. A lot of offense, a lot of chances, skill on display, and yeah, goals. After a heartbreaking shootout loss to the Habs last Tuesday (a game they more than deserved to win), it was gratifying to see Calgary come out with a victory in a contest they maybe shouldn’t have fared as well in.
Nothing extremely noteworthy went down in the 1st, at least not compared as the following two stanzas, but depending on who you talk to, the chances were something like 6-5 in the first period for the Flames, with the hometown heroes outshooting their U.S. stereotypical country music lovin’ counterparts 10-8. As far as this outshooting the opponent thing goes…uh…don’t get used to it.
The second period is where things went Bananapants. Your boy Boring Sean Monahan got things rolling 4 minutes into the frame. He was standing in front of the net and Dennis Wideman shot it. He didn’t think he was going to get a rebound but then he did and he put it in the net. It was hilarious.
The lead wouldn’t last though, as it was tied one minute later, after Craig Smith, the same Craig Smith who once did this, learned from his mistake and tucked home a rebound past Flames ‘tender Jonas Hiller (who true to form, was excellent on this night)
America’s Favourite Team would take the lead at the 11:09 mark of the second when talented hockey player and human trash James Neal potted what would be his first goal of the game, and all of a sudden,it felt like maybe another crushing loss at home was in the cards.
Especially when Anton Volchenkov, noted freight train, put his elbow into the charging head of Michael Ferland, ending the Flames rookie’s night early, which is a real shame, because he was maybe the second or third best player on the ice to that point of the game.
You be the judge, how suspendable is this ish:
Regardless of what happens to Volchenkov as a result of this hit, the fact is, Michael Ferland probably has a concussion, which is brutal, and we wish him a speedy recovery, because he is terrific. Welcme back to the lineup, probably Josh Jooris.
Calgary put up another 10 shots on the #perds in the period, and Nashville answered with 9, although they put a lot more shots at the net than those 9. It was a real shot blocky kinda night out there.
The third period was outstanding. Johnny Hockey was all over the place, and TJ Brodie proved why he is one of the best defensemen in the league and how that contract extension is going to end up being a steal.
The #hudlerite tied the game for the Flaming C early in the third, thanks to a ridonculous effort by Johnny Hockey and some slick hands by recent call up Markus Granlund. Granlund was called up to replace an injured Mikael Backlund, and the skilled Swede center ratio remained unchanged: (don’t let the fact that he’s Finnish ruin a perfectly good analogy)
(gif courtesy of Steph from gif goldmine…yeah there’s a pattern here)
Granlund, my man. Damn. That might be one of the easiest goals Hudler will ever score.
World Greatest defenseman TJ Brodie put the Flames ahead after a goal that surprised everyone, because we initially thought David Jones scored, who mostly did a good job of making everyone wonder if he was even in the game to that point. Turns out Brodie banked it off of Future Philadelphia Flyer Shea Weber because he’s just that good.
The Flames never looked back. Gaudreau would score two minutes later on a pretty shot (that Pekka Rinne absolutely should have stopped), and it was the cherry on top for what was a pretty perfect game for the diminutive forward, who was everywhere on the night and deservedly walked away with the first star of the game.
The Preds threw everything they had at Hiller and blah blah, James Neal scored again, but it was all for naught. Flames win 4-3 in front of a very dressed up for Halloween crowd at the Dome.
Why The Flames Won
A little bit of puck luck, a lot of skill from the Flames skilled players, timely saves from a goaltender who’s made a habit of it so far this season, and a little bit of Flames magic that has endeared everyone to this team over the last 6 months or so.
35 blocked shots was a nice touch too, but that’s a double edged sword if we’ve ever seen one.
The Flames were 100% on their power play, which sounds WAY better than they went 2 for 2 on the power play, but even still…they went 2 for 2 on the power play, and that always helps.
Also my guess is there was at least one person dressed as a Guardian Angel in the crowd tonight.
Well, Deryk Engelland was pretty good, and David Jones was spectacular, so maybe one of them. Johnny. It’s undoubtedly Johnny Gaudreau. Homey did it all tonight. Scored the winning goal. Assisted on the winner. 5 shots on goal, all in a tidy 17:22 of ice time. After Ferland went down with his “upper body injury” (it’s a concussion. It’s so obviously a concussion), Gaudreau slotted in on his wing with Hudler and Granlund, and that line was the catalyst for the win tonight. He was unreal, as he has been over the past few games.
He’s ours, Citizens. Breathe it in.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
As mentioned, this was a fun win, but let’s throw in a word of caution: The Flames were probably lucky to come away with the W in this one. Sure, full credit for blocking 35 shots in a game, but if the opposition is throwing over 60 pucks towards Jonas Hiller in one game, it’s a pretty sure sign that your team is not all that good, and there might be some gloomy days ahead. As long as Hiller and Ramo keep playing as lights out as they are, it’s not the end of the world, but dams break, my friends.
In the meantime, before that happens and we all get very depressed, let’s enjoy these moments. We’re on the precipice of the Gaudreaus and the Monahans of the world blossoming into stars, and that alone is enough to get us salivating for the future. We’ll get there. Oh we’ll get there. But there are going to be some growing pains before that day, which means it’s cool to cherish these wins along the way.
Let loose. You’ve earned it Flames fans.
Calgary is off until Sunday, when they travel to Montreal to relive that crushing loss to Montreal all over again, but the poutine in Montreal is really good, so maybe it won’t be as bad for them in the end.
Flames win. Happy Halloween. Say hello to your mother, she misses you.