Oh. Right. Meaningful hockey is absolutely the most nerve-wracking thing ever.
The Flames beat the San Jose Sharks for the third time this season on the road and moved back into second place in the Pacific Division. That is only the essential information though. This game was certainly a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.There were times in this game where it was literally painful to watch for me and I am sure I am not alone. It felt…nice. Somehow.
Also, the Flames won in front of their dads which is pretty darn adorable. It warmed the space where my cynical heart used to live.
Flames won 4-1, come check out how after the jump!
WHAT WENT DOWN
There was a last minute lineup switch before the game started with Paul Byron coming out of the lineup as he had the flu. That meant that David Wolf played his second NHL game after a reasonably successful debut. Some of you, I will not name names, are not big Paul Byron fans.You are mistaken and I will bare-nuckle brawl anyone disagrees. However, David Wolf is also good. So let us take this out on who truly deserves it, Brandon Bollig, who also sat tonight with an illness.
That does not matter tonight though! The Flames started the first by having to kill off a powerplay from San Jose’s top-ten PP, which they did in impressive fashion and generally did a good job getting through the opening minutes of the first without any disasters.
The Flames were able to generate some very good zone time halfway through the first, with the line of Colborne, Wolf, and Jooris looking particularly good. Then, the Flames drew a penalty and held the puck for over approximately an hour (including almost scoring on their own net, as is customary). On the ensuing powerplay, the Flames were unable to generate any substantive pressure, a fact that would surprise few due to the fact that David Jones was present on the powerplay. That being said, I have become quite a fan of shoot-happy Rafa Diaz on the point.
The Flames were able to open the scoring. Mason Raymond drove the puck into the Sharks end, made nice move to the middle and fired a wrister past Niemi. A really nice goal. Overall, Raymond’s play over the last few games has taken a quantum leap after breaking his goalless slump:
The first ended with the Flames up 1-0 in one of the best first periods they have had all season. The Flames out-shot the Sharks 9-7 in period one.
— grant pollock (@GPfibman) February 10, 2015
Both teams had some very good chances early in the second period and the pace was certainly… tense. I know this because I am reasonably certain I was sweating just watching this game. The Flames were able to extend their lead to 2-0 off the stick of top-six wizard Lance Bouma who banged in the rebound of a Giordano point shot (which followed a nice faceoff win from Backlund).
I vote we change Bouma’s nickname from Booms to Scruffy.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) February 10, 2015
It looked as thought the Flames were going to be able to hang on to their two-goal lead heading into the third after an exceptionally close-checking end to the second. Both teams swapped unsuccessful powerplays and the Flames were forced to call their timeout after a pair of icings. Lance Bouma had to eat a point-blank clapper in the final 20 seconds as well. Everything is hunky-dory. Or not.
However, after a late icing call and with one second remaining, half human half wookie Brent Burns fired a puck past Hiller to draw the Sharks back to within one. A really nasty break for the Flames with only moments to go in the period. The Flames held the edge in shots 19-18 heading into the third.
The Flames flew out of the gates in the third and drew a powerplay about four minutes in. Largely the PP was pretty ineffective until Johnny Gaudreau, who was not having his best night, was able to find Hudler who put it top-shelf on the only shot of the powerplay. Excellent pass, great shot, 3-1 Flames. That’s five goals in five games for Hudler versus the Sharks this season. Those are five pretty important goals as well I’d say.
The Flames then began to hang on for dear life and with about five minutes to play in the game, a very strange penalty was called on Mikael Backlund who was playing a very solid game. Thanks to a few really clutch stops from Hiller, the Sharks went 0-3 on the PP.
David Jones netted the empty netter and the Flames held on for a big 4-1 win at the Shark tank.
THE RED WARRIOR
First off, I’d say Jonas Hiller was exceptionally good in this game. I figured that Ramo would get the start after Hiller was pulled against the Penguins but, as was mentioned several times throughout the night, Hiller was solid, calm, and steady for the Flames. Hiller also was a big part of the Flames’ three successful penalty kills against a very good Sharks PP. Excellent job sir.
Kris Russell blocked six shots which is crazytown. Good work sir but no R.W. for you. Brodano were good again tonight but that is hardly news. In his second game, David Wolf looked very good again and has already shown me more than Bollig this season. We are excited here at FN to have rare home-video of David Wolf’s birth. So cute!:
Special mention to the Flames centremen in general, who hung tough with the Sharks in the dot and won several key draws. I thought Monahan was generally solid as well tonight. Mikael Backlund, save for the very, very bad penalty he took late in the third period played an exceptionally good game. Backlund is runner up.
However, how could it possibly be anyone but ol’ fancy pants Lance Bouma, who continued to march towards his expected 20 goals this season with this beauty:
Well, maybe it wasn’t a beauty but they all count. Bouma finished the night with two points, three shots, 16:23 mins (including 4+ mins of penalty killing), and a blocked shot. Good for Lance, he played phenomenal tonight.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?
This win has to feel real, real good for the Flames who have simply owned the Sharks this season. The Flames won all three games in San Jose which is truly remarkable. The Flames have vaulted into second place in the Pacific Division (even though there are some games at hand) and have a relatively comfortable cushion in the Wild Card race. The Flames have also reached 30 wins, something that I am not ashamed to admit I thought may be close to their final win total this season. Damn, it feels great to be wrong. Times are good.
However, the Western conference affords little opportunity for complacency. The Flames will need to keep putting together mini-streaks if they want to avoid sliding into the mud of the wild card race.The Flames next game is on Thursday against the LA Kings, with another massive opportunity to put some more space between them and the pack chasing down the wild card spots. This is fun.
|Away||1||9:54||Gaudreau from Engelland, save||12||27||31||39||83||88||1||4||13||23||24||29||5v5|
|Home||1||5:58||Hertl from Thornton, save||19||27||31||48||52||68||1||6||7||11||17||19||5v5|
|Away||1||5:09||Raymond from Bouma, goal||4||31||41||48||50||57||1||4||6||17||18||21||5v5|
|Home||2||19:28||Marleau from Nieto, miss||4||12||31||39||41||83||1||4||6||13||23||24||5v5|
|Away||2||11:50||Bouma from Giordano rebound, goal||4||8||19||31||41||68||1||18||20||21||29||33||5v5|
|Home||2||10:29||Hertl from Wingels, save||31||48||50||52||57||80||1||8||29||33||45||86||5v5|
|Away||2||10:04||Giordano from Bouma, save (4v5 PK)||8||12||19||31||39||88||1||5||7||17||18||5v4|
|Home||2||9:51||Couture from Pavelski, save (5v4 PP)||8||12||19||31||39||88||1||5||7||11||86||5v4|
|Home||2||9:50||Pavelski from Couture rebound, save (5v4 PP)||8||12||19||31||39||88||1||5||7||11||86||5v4|
|Home||2||7:10||Desjardins from Hannan, save||4||10||15||27||31||81||1||6||11||20||21||33||5v5|
|Away||2||5:56||Giordano from Hudler, miss||12||31||39||41||80||83||1||5||7||13||23||24||5v5|
|Home||2||0:51||Couture from Nieto, save||4||12||31||39||41||81||1||4||6||13||23||24||5v5|
|Away||3||19:26||Gaudreau from Monahan, save||4||12||31||39||41||83||1||4||6||13||23||24||5v5|
|Away||3||19:10||Bouma from Monahan, goalpost||4||12||31||39||41||83||1||5||7||17||19||23||5v5|
|Away||3||14:41||Hudler from Gaudreau, goal (5v4 PP)||10||27||31||80||83||1||4||6||13||23||24||4v5|
|Home||3||13:42||Pavelski from Thornton, save||8||19||31||52||68||88||1||5||7||17||18||19||5v5|
|Away||3||8:25||Bouma from Jones, save||19||27||31||68||81||88||1||5||7||11||17||19||5v5|
|Away||3||5:51||Backlund from Hudler, save||8||19||31||52||68||80||1||4||7||11||17||24||5v5|
|Home||3||4:05||Hertl from Irwin, save (5v4 PP)||31||48||50||52||68||80||1||5||6||17||23||5v4|
|Home||3||3:20||Nieto from Dillon, save||4||12||31||39||41||83||1||5||7||19||20||23||5v5|
|Away||3||1:16||Backlund from Jooris, miss||10||15||31||52||80||81||1||8||11||29||33||86||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|