Post Game – Buffalo: Monahandled

This is a very, very strange and sad video. 

That game was a roller-coaster. The Flames still can’t kill a penalty but Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan dragged the Flames across the finish line tonight in a game which would probably benefit from having copies of it destroyed. The Flames did a great job handling Buffalo Sabres not named Rasmus Ristolainen but did their best to lose a game they had in hand several times. 

Oh well, a wins a win! Come have a look at how it all went down after the jump. 

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was pretty… terrible. The Flames had two power-play opportunities and managed maybe a single scoring chance on each of them. However, if you thought just watching a bad hockey game was your only punishment, then you were wrong. One of the worst possible things happened in the first period with about a minute left. 

Rasmus Ristolainen pushed our beloved Johnny Gaudreau who fell awkwardly into David Jones before crumpling to the ice and heading straight for the tunnel. I immediately placed an order for an Auston Matthews jersey. Here’s a look at the incident:

Just another reminder to go folllow @myregularface on twitter. If you don’t have twitter, get twitter, follow @myregularface and @GuyFieri and you’re good.

However, all was well. Johnny was back on the bench to start the period and I cancelled my jersey order and dried my tears. After the first, the Flames led the Sabres in shots 10-6 and the balance of play was largely even. 

About four minutes into the second, Brandon Bollig took a bone-headed penalty and the Flames were able to kill it off. Once the penalty expired, Bollig was able to help out on a rush that ended up with Monahan banging home a loose puck, 1-0 Flames. 

Certainly not the prettiest goal but hopefully Monahan can continue to turn his game around after a tough start to the season. Ferland and Wideman got the assists. By the way, the media attempt to praise Bollig following that goal was…interesting. The standards are set so low for him it’s shocking. 

Here is a look at the Monahan goal: 

The second period was essentially a snoozer as well, with the Flames able to limit the Sabres to many good chances though the Sabres rang one off the post early in the period. But wait! Perhaps the Sabres were lulled to sleep by the general lack-of-anything occurring in the period but Joe Colborne entered the zone (narrowly keeping the play onside) fed the puck in front to Dougie Hamilton, wait, really? What was he doing there? Who the hell was supposed to be covering either of them? Well, either way, Hamilton beautifully slid the puck to Markus Granlund who tapped it in with about seven seconds left in the second to make it 2-0 Flames.

Here is a look at the goal. Dig that pass from Hamilton:  

After the second, the Flames led the Sabres in shots 22-14. It’s gonna be another snoozer of a game though right? Both teams seemed listless and maybe the Flames would grind out an ugly one right? WRONG! The third period was insanity. Good hockey? Well, not good penalty killing. And not good defence. Or goaltending. But! Good was the result!

 Things started to fall apart early in the third when Sam Bennett turned into a one-man penalty taking machine and the Flames PK once again let the team down in a big way. 

Less than a minute into the final frame, Sam Bennett took an interference penalty for running a bit of a pick for Joe Colborne as he tried to enter the zone. On the resulting Sabre power play, the league’s worst penalty kill surrendered another goal. Noted Gaudreau hurter Rasmus Ristolainen fired a shot home from the point through about a million bodies, the 21st goal that the Flames had allowed on the PK this year:

On Bennett’s next shift, he took another penalty, this time for tripping and the Sabres scored three-freaking-seconds into the power play. Something has to be done about the Flames inability to kill penalties at even a decent rate. Instead, their inability to score goals a man up and remarkable ability to bleed goals a man down meant that the lead that the Flames acquired through two periods was gone immediately into the third and all of a sudden, it was a dog-fight. 

Thanks to the outstanding vision of Johnny “screw you Rasmus” Gaudreau, the Flames got the lead back about mid-way through the third. Gaudreau made a nice catch on a deflected Giordano pass then spun and found Monahan for essentially a tap-in. I will choose to believe the pass was for Monahan and not for Jones who swung and missed. See for yourself!

However, because life is cruel and Rasmus Ristolainen is better than Darnell Nurse, the Sabres tied the game at three when the aforementioned Gaudreau hurter fired a puck in off of Dennis Wideman who was practicing a rather interesting interpretation of defence at that moment. The Flames blow another lead though this was the first even-strength goal for the Sabres of the night. 

The theatrics were not over though. The littlest prince put the Flames ahead for good, proving that Ristolainen was no match for him. Gaudreau snapped a puck past Johnson (one that Johnson should have had) and the Flames held on for a bizarre 4-3 win. 

THE RED WARRIOR 

Markus Granlund had a strong game, Joe Colborne (who I, like many, have been very critical of) had a heckuva game, Brodie was good as ever, and Sean Monahan put up some serious points tonight. But come on, we know who this is. 

Johnny Gaudreau was knocked down, came back and willed his team past the Sabres in a very bizarre game. 

CLIMBING TRASH MOUNTAIN

Standings

I don’t get it either. Somehow the Flames are right back in the thick of a playoff race. In other news, Emile Poirier scored twice and Bill Arnold scored once and the Heat won 3-2 tonight so it’s smiles all around tonight in Flames land. 

  • ChinookArchYYC

    We won tonight INSPITE of Hiller, who is not very good at goaltending.

    Everyone, take a moment and pray to baby Jesus that Karri Ramo is good to go on Sat night otherwise the Rangers will feast on Hiller and his league worst SV %

    On a positive note, thank god the offence was clicking tonight and firing on all cylinders. Hamilton is playing better and consistently, which is nice to see finally and Brodie/Gio is looking like the elite pairing from last year. Monny and Johnny absolutely dominating out there, another fun game to watch.

    • cberg

      Hiller totally blew the second goal, which should never have gone in. Besides that one, however he was pretty good. The first was screened by like 5 guys and it was a great top corner shot, and the last a fluke deflection off the defenseman’s skate right in front of the net. He made the stops needed to seal the victory. Hopefully they all get over the flu soon!

  • I’m still p*ssed about the Franson hit from behind on Frolik. Terrible play that should have been called a penalty! Ref’s are supposed to be looking out for player safety as much as they are out there to enforce the rules.

  • Captain Ron

    Ristolainen was a beast out there. I had no idea he was that good.

    Nice win tonight in spite of the mirage in net vaguely resembling a goaltender. Absolutely horrible tonight. Clearly he doesn’t care any more. How did he ever win a cup?

    • Truculence

      Ristolainen was on for three even strength goals against. Yes, he had a great night offensively -which Hiller had a huge part in -but let’s not get carried away. He was bleeding chances against all night like young d-men are prone to do.

    • Captain Ron

      If there’s one player i’d like to add to the ongoing Flames rebuild, it’s probably Ristolainen. Has the size, smarts, skating and shot, plays tough, on pace for 60 points season currently. Unfortunately he is not available.

      • Captain Ron

        Oh I realize that but comparing him to Engelland’s near miss is reaching a bit too.

        He’s a 21 year old defenceman that scored a natural hat trick in the 3rd period on the road and gave his team a chance to win though. If Hamilton did that we would be gushing about it. Aside from scoring I like his physical side too. He’s the whole package and I predict he is going to be a force in a few years. I had heard about him but this is the first time I saw him play and was impressed with is game. Sure he was on the ice for a couple of goals against too but he also played nearly half the game. I would be thrilled if he was in our camp.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      All 3 of Rist 3 goals were a 1% shot.

      He got lucky. Very lucky.

      He was suspect on D for most of the night.

      Is there a better top 3 D in the league than the Flames?

      Is there a better bottom 3 D?

      WW

      • Captain Ron

        You better go watch the highlights then like I just did. Two pretty good shots and one lucky deflection is more like it. If not then there a a lot of 1% shots going in the net around the league.

        Is there a better top 3 D? Debatable for sure.

        Is there a better bottom 3 D? Also debatable especially if you include Russell in this group. Russell can go to free agency for all I care. Would rather see Kulak playing.

  • Not sure why anyone is jumping on Hiller. Second was suspect, but first was a seeing eye shot through 5 layers of traffic and the third one was deflected past him by his own defenseman.

    He’s been lousy this year, but tonight you can only really hold him accountable on one of three goals.

    • Burnward

      Your butt cheeks don’t instinctively clench in fear each time a puck is headed his way?

      He’s just cashing cheques. Good enough to keep his job. That’s it. I think I’d rather take any goaltender in the NHL over him.

    • Captain Ron

      Your right that I should cut him some slack tonight because he was sick apparently. One was a lucky deflection I will give you that but I didn’t like that second goal right off the face off much either. I’ve had enough of Hiller though with his one softy a game every game it seems.

      If we had any kind of decent goaltending earlier this year we would probably be right behind LA in the division standings.

      Lot’s of Hiller supporters around here but I’m not one of them anymore. Waive him already. Play Ramo and Ortio till the season is over unless they can swing a deal for something better.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I was at the game (bowl seats and on the Calgary end ), so I got to see his play fairly up close. Notwithstanding the 3rd period game, Hiller was good. He was square to every shot and positionally sound. No bad rebounds come to mind, and he jumped on pucks on several dangerous plays when Buffalo was in close. It’s just my eye, but I wasn’t scared on every shot Buffalo took.

      I’d say given his last showings, it’s a good night and a win for Hiller. His defenders should also be commended for mostly keeping shots to the outside and clearing a lot of pucks.

      • CutterMcAwesome

        Post-game, Hartley stated that Ramo was in the medics room “wrenching his guts out” while Hiller showed up “white as a ghost” also fighting the flu bug, so he got to play. So…he played a good game when most of the Hiller haters on FN would have stayed in bed…

        • Captain Ron

          Maybe but 4.5 mill a year is pretty good incentive to get out of bed. I’d heave inside my mask every game I started for a full season to make that much coin. Lets say 40 starts at 4.5 mill a year is $112,500.00 an episode? Yeah I’d be down for that.

    • Longshot1977

      For sure. Plus, by all accounts Hiller was VERY ill before and presumably during the game. It sounds like Hartley had to choose between the guy who just finished puking (Hiller) and the guy who still had his head in the toilet (Ramo).

      Rather than bash Hiller, I’d call his effort at least “guts-y” if not heroic.

  • Colin.S

    What the hell has Joe Colobourne done to deserve the most ice time of any forward in the game? I thought I heard his name a lot this game, checked the score sheet and sure enough, he played 19:44 or ES TOI and 1:41 of PP time.

  • cberg

    I was pissed at Bob Hartley yesterday for putting Bollig in the line up not knowing that a few key players were “down with the sickness”, but I liked his game. He took a roughing call in the second which was just a matter of time, but it was kind of a weak call. He responds by playing hard, winning battles and eventually creating a scoring chance for Monahan for the first goal of the game, although he never recorded a point.

    Keep it up Bollig!!

  • Pit Martin

    This was Hiller’s first game in a long time, he was sick with the flu.Yes our goaltending lets in a bad goal every game lately but the amount of heavy criticism on this site is not fair. I think that if they let Hiller play some consecutive games and gets his groove back he will be ok. Cut the guy some slack.On the bright side Giordano, Hamilton, Brodie, Mohahan, Gaudreau etc are so much fun to watch. Playoffs coming baby! Hamilton was ripped big time early in the season with many of you expecting him to be damn near perfect moving to a new team, new teammates, new systems! Now look at his improvement less than 30 games into the season. It is a marathon, not a sprint

  • I wish the commentator could come up with another adjective to describe Colborne than “here comes BIG Joe Colborne”. Can he just stand in front of the goalie instead of taking the puck around the net over and over again?