The Calgary Flames are a team with a very specific set of skills.
If they get down a few goals, no matter what the deficit, they have confidence that they can come back late in games. In some cases, that confidence may seem misplaced. But heading into tonight, the Flames had a 9-16-1 record when trailing after 40 minutes. They entered the third trailing Boston by a 3-1 margin.
In other words, they had them right where they wanted them.
The Flames won tonight in their 10th third period comeback of the 2014-15 season, 4-3 in overtime.
The first period began promisingly, with an early-period Bruins penalty, as Chris Kelly went off for hooking. However, the Flames just couldn’t get a good zone entry or maintain possession. T.J. Brodie whiffed on an attempt in the neutral zone at something – a pass or a dump-in – allowing Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to steal the puck and go in on Karri Ramo. Marchand scored, short-handed, to make it 1-0 for the visitors. The Bruins struck again mid-way through the period, hemming the Flames top line into their own zone and cycling the puck around. After a few moments watching the Bruins dish it around, Zdeno Chara put it past a bewildered Karri Ramo to make it 2-0. Shots were 9-8 Boston in the first.
The Bruins scored within the first minute of the second period. It was a goal off the rush by Torey Krug, with the Flames defense collapsing down and Krug back-handing it from the slot. Can’t really fault Ramo on it, but his night was over after 3 goals on 11 shots. Jonas HIller came in. About six minutes later, after a few nice saves by Hiller got the crowd back into it, David Jones waltzed in front of the Bruins net and put one past Tuukka Rask to make it 3-1. Johnny Gaudreau’s perfect streak of games without a penalty minute ended rather abruptly, with four minutes left in the second he took a double-minor for clipping David Pastrnak with his stick and drawing blood. The Flames killed all but a second of Gaudreau’s infraction before the period ended. Shots in the second were 9-8 Boston.
Calgary finally got going in the third period. Riding the momentum of the kill, they got some extended zone time and converted, with Sean Monahan finding Jiri Hudler wide open with a nice pass, which Hudler shelved past Rask. The Flames continued to press, and finally broke through on a late-period power-play, with a Mark Giordano point shot through traffic getting redirected at the side of the net by – guess who – Hudler, to tie the game and send things to overtime. Shots were 10-7 Calgary in the final period of regulation.
The Bruins pressed hard in overtime, and the majority of the bonus period was spent in Calgary’s end. However, the Flames pushed on and, somehow, T.J. Brodie’s shot fluttered towards the net, bouncing off the top of the net, off Rask’s back…and into the net, giving Calgary a 4-3 overtime win with just over two seconds remaining in overtime. The Bruins out-shot Calgary 3-2 in OT, but the Flames out-scored ’em and skated away the victors.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Boston was much more effective at dictating the pace through two periods, but the Flames gained some momentum with the kill on the Gaudreau double-minor (he was temporarily demoted to the fourth line afterwards). They shuffled the lines a bit, moving Paul Byron up to the top line for a spell, and the change in chemistry resulted in a spark that led to the comeback.
The team was also much more effective at gaining and holding the zone as the game wore on, especially in the third, which allowed them extended looks and better chances.
But I’m still not entirely sure how Brodie’s shot went in for the game-winner.
Mark Giordano had three assists, played 27:52 (second on the team behind Dennis Wideman) and was super-clutch late in the game, particularly in terms of holding the puck in the offensive zone and helping tire the Bruins defenders out.
Honourable mentions go to Jiri Hudler, with a pair of goals, and Jonas Hiller, who made 16 saves in relief for the victory.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames now sit firmly with a 32-22-3 record, and have just three fewer wins through 57 games than they had all season. They’re off tomorrow as they prepare for a game with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.