The Calgary Flames came into tonight’s game with some momentum. After losing their first two games against the Edmonton Oilers when the curtain raised on the pre-season, they’ve been on a bit of a roll.
Tonight, they put an NHL line-up against the Colorado Avalanche. To steal a phrase: “They are who we thought they were.” The Flames didn’t play a strong full 60 minutes, but they didn’t need to. They coasted to a 2-0 win at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flames scored 24 seconds in on a really nice passing play by Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau that ended with a tap-in by Hudler for a 1-0 lead. The rest of the period was rather back-and-forth, and the Avalanche actually out-shot the Flames by a slim 9-8 margin.
The Flames really took over the game a few minutes into the second period, a few minutes after Jiri Hudler was left wide-open and knocked in his second off a gorgeous set-up by Michael Frolik. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing, really. The Flames kept the puck more than they did in the first, holding and carrying it in rather than chucking it into the offensive end. As a result, the Avalanche got tired and took penalties. Because they took penalties, the Flames held the puck even more, leading to more chances and more Avalanche penalties. The home side out-shot ’em 14-8 overall, but 9-2 at even-strength. Yowzers.
The home side went back on their heels a bit in the third period. Maybe it was the Avalanche executing a bit better – they did – or the Flames collectively thinking “Well, we have this well in hand…” but the Avs drove the pace of the game more than they did in the first two periods. Shots were 12-10 for the Avs in the final frame, but Karri Ramo was only tested a couple times.
Jiri Hudler scored twice, so let’s go with him.
But among the rest of the team, both Josh Jooris and Garnet Hathaway buzzed around a lot all night. Drew Shore was also pretty good, particularly in the face-off circle. Both goalies (Ramo and Hiller) were good; Hiller made 15 saves and Ramo made 14, though neither really had to stand on their head.
Oh, and the highlight of the night…
Harvey shot an #oilers fan in the ass with a t-shirt gun point blank
— ClayBort (@clayTRON8000) September 30, 2015
The Flames are back in pre-season action on Thursday when they head to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg to face the Jets. The game’s on TV in Winnipeg, but is most likely blacked out in the scenic Albertas.
The NHL’s roster deadline is this coming Tuesday at 5pm ET and games get going for the 2015-16 regular season next Wednesday.