(Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports)
Earlier this season, the Calgary Flames were utterly embarrassed by the Washington Capitals 6-2 at home. Tonight, roughly a month later, the Flames played a composed, mature game. They let the Capitals back into it a bit in the third, but they played well enough to win.
And thanks to overtime, they did, by a score of 3-2 over the Capitals. The win represents their first points from their current four-game road trip – they’ve captured two of a possible six points thus far, and improve to 6-11-1 on the season.
The opening frame was fairly even, with each team showing some fatigue – and as a result, shyness to engage – from the previous night. The Flames held a slight 11-9 shot edge, and shot attempts were even at 20-20.
The Flames played a pretty good second period, though Washington slightly out-shot them (10-9). Michael Frolik opened the scoring on a nice little play. The puck was floated into the neutral zone and Mikael Backlund nearly forced a turnover by a Capitals defender. Sam Bennett collected the puck and drove into the Capitals zone. After battling for the puck a bit, he cut towards the net and put a beautiful cross-ice pass to Frolik at the slot for the tap-in goal to make it 1-0. And just like that, the Flames had a lead on the road going into the third period.
And the Flames, shock of shocks, extended their lead early in the third period off a nice effort by Sean Monahan in front to make it 2-0. Then? It all went side-ways for awhile. And by “awhile,” I mean the remainder of the period. (Shots were 15-7 Washington and attempts were 32-8 for the Capitals, if that’s any indication.) Brandon Bollig took an additional roughing call during a skirmish that involved a fight, giving the Capitals a power-play and some momentum. They didn’t score on that man-advantage, but later on Michael Latta scored on his own rebound as (a) Ramo couldn’t swallow it up and (b) the Flames defense couldn’t shove Latta off the puck. Anyway, nice effort from Latta to make it 2-1. The Capitals kept pressing, and eventually the Flames left Jay Beagle out front for a nice pass from Andre Burakovsky for the tying goal on a tap-in. And so, we went to overtime!
They went back and forth a bit in overtime. Brodie and Monahan went in on a 2-on-2, and Brodie’s beautiful pass found Monahan, who beat Philipp Grubauer with his shot for the 3-2 win.
|All Situations||Corsi For%||OZ Start %|
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Well, they were really good for the first 40 minutes. Then? They let the Capitals back in. But despite being not-amazing in the third, the Flames gave themselves enough rope that they were able to get it to overtime, where they’ve been magical this year.
Was it an ideal game? Nope. But in a game between two teams that both played last night, in different cities, the team that won was gonna be the one that made fewer mistakes. The Flames played a flawed game, but made fewer mistakes than Washington and captured the win.
He’s definitely been fighting it lately, so it was nice to see Sean Monahan step up tonight with a couple of key goals. Granted, he didn’t play an amazing game overall, but he was clutch around the front of the net and did what needed to be done. (He was also 59% at the face-off dot, which is huge.)
And as much as I hated the decision to start Karri Ramo again tonight, he was pretty good.
The Calgary Flames close out their road trip on Sunday night when they face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.