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The top five Calgary Flames moments of 2018

The 2018 calendar year has been full of mixed emotions for Flames fans. On the one hand, the team choked away a playoff spot in the second half of last season. On the other, the start to this season has been one of the most promising in recent memory and chock-full of exciting moments. With 2019 upon us, let’s look back at Calgary’s top five moments over the last 12 months.

5. THE SUPERFECTA!

Game 82 of last season was one of the most surreal experiences I can ever remember. The entire hockey world was still in shock following the unimaginable loss of so many members of the Humboldt Broncos just 24 hours prior. Everyone’s minds that night were elsewhere, but Mark Jankowski helped fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome escape reality, at least for a little while.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Jankowski went off for four goals in a 7-1 rout of the Vegas Golden Knights to send Flames fans into the offseason smiling. Jankowski scored in almost every possible way, too: shorthanded, on the powerplay, and a pair at even strength. Knowing how bad the second half of last season was, you can understand why this is the only submission from 2017-18 on this list.

4. COLORADO COMEBACK

Remember when David Rittich was celebrating in his crease before Johnny Gaudreau finished off the Colorado Avalanche on an overtime breakaway? That in and of itself was probably a top five moment, but it also came as part of a really impressive comeback at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Oct. 13.

After an atrocious start where Calgary allowed two goals in the first 2:40, the team settled down and gradually took over. When it was all said and done, the Flames were almost an 80% possession team in the final two periods and finally tied the game when Elias Lindholm wired home his fourth of the season with less than two minutes left.

It didn’t take long for Calgary to finish the Avalanche off; Gaudreau scored the breakaway winner just 46 seconds into overtime while Rittich had already started the party.

3. LAST MINUTE MAGIC

We all remember the magical 2014-15 season and how many improbable third period comeback wins the Flames put together. But Dec. 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers puts most of those wins to shame, because what we witnessed at the Saddledome that night was madness.

Despite outplaying Philly for a good chunk of that Wednesday night affair, Calgary trailed 5-3 with just over a minute remaining. Even after Rasmus Andersson scored his first NHL goal at 18:52, things still seemed fairly in the bag for the Flyers. But with seven seconds to go, Sean Monahan scored the game-tying goal, which allowed Gaudreau (again) to score the winner 35 seconds into overtime. To recap, that’s three goals in 1:43 to turn a silent Saddledome into an absolute madhouse.

From a historical perspective, Dec. 12 was only the third time in team history the Flames have erased a multi-goal deficit with less than two minutes remaining to come back and win. Not bad.

2. THE MARQUEE MATCHUP

When the Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning met on Dec. 20 of this year, it was a battle between two of the top teams in the NHL. Tampa sat number one overall while Calgary was one of a few teams tied for second in points. I can’t remember the last time a mid-season matchup involving the Flames had so much buzz surrounding it, and, to the credit of both teams, it lived up to the hype.

Calgary and Tampa went back and forth and shot-for-shot over 65 thoroughly entertaining minutes and it took seven rounds of a shootout for the visitors to walk away with a 6-5 win. Sure, the Flames didn’t get the two points, but they proved to everyone, including themselves, they can hang with the best of the best. It was a heck of a night.

1. THE BATTLE IS BACK

I’m not sure if Nov. 17 would be number one for most people, but it is for me. Round one of this season’s Battle of Alberta was as memorable and enthralling a regular season game I’ve seen live at the Saddledome I can remember. It had a little bit of everything as Calgary scored four unanswered to take a 4-2 win over the Oilers.

There were big hits, a few fights, and Matthew Tkachuk was at his rage-inducing best while burrowing right between the ears of then head coach Todd McLellan and a few of his players. Sure, the return engagement a few weeks later wasn’t nearly as exciting, but Nov. 17 was an absolute throwback to when this rivalry was one of the league’s best. The atmosphere was electric, the game was entertaining, and I won’t be forgetting this one for a long, long time.



  • moore_tweets

    It’s was a pretty good year overall to be a Flames fan. (Outside of missing the playoffs of course). The core group seems to trucking right along. Here’s to 2019?

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Can’t believe your #5! Janko’s night of night against the Knights came against a club that was playing a totally meaningless game. Furthermore, I would say that game has hurt Janko and the Flames this year. Janko finished last season with 17 goals, but was he is a 17-goal-scorer or a guy who happened to score 17 goals? The distinction is huge. Going into this season I am quite sure the Flames org thought that Janko could score 20+ goals and some of their personnel decisions were based on that. Janko may well score 20+ this year, but that will be a stretch. It might well be that Janko is no more than a 10 to 15 goals per guy who is defensively responsible, has some size and is a solid 3rd or 4th line centre. Nothing wrong with that unless you are counting on him to pot 20+ because it might not happen. Janko has 6 goals in 36 games which puts him on roughly the same pace he was on last year before Game 82 threw his stat line out of whack.

    A good pick for top 5 would be that goofy 9-6 game in Columbus. That game made watching hockey so much fun again.

    • Luter 1

      Whhhhaaat! He might score 10 on the penalty kill alone. This kid is a bonafide 20 goal scorer with some grooming. He’s learning the defensive side of things very well, great on PK and has a beauty shot. In his second year he has already passed Frolik, Backs, Ryan, Neal even Benny as a reliable player. All this with very limited talent on his line, no PP time and 3rd and 4th line mostly. Little more toughness and strength and this guy is a perfect 2nd line Center who can win draws. He’s Calgary’s Rodney Dangerfield – gets no respect.
      Same thing we did with Byron, unappreciated penalty killer, instead we stuck with overpaid Stajan!

  • RKD

    What the 9-6 Columbus win isn’t on here? Jk. So far some highlights: Lindholm has been a beast playing out of his skull. Brodie is back to old Brodie. Monahan is asserting himself to becoming a 40 goal scorer. Flames have passed Arizona for #1 in the league for short handed goals. Big Save Dave has assumed the starter’s role. Gaudreau is the 1st Flames player since Iginla to score 50 points in 40 games. In 2019 I just want Neal and Backs to score more, win the Pacific Division, make a deep playoff run a Stanley Cup would be awesome:) and Gio to win the Norris!

  • Off the wall

    I don’t know about you, but I’m a happy Flames fan. We’re tied for 1st place in the Conference, first in the Pacific. That’s exciting!

    We’ve had a few stinkers along the way, however this is a team that plays fast paced- exciting hockey most times. Thank goodness.

    The Oilers- Flames game was a beauty. It had all the elements of playoff hockey and it was in November! I agree with Pat, this was number 1 on my list. The rivalry was great, inspiring and fun to watch. I can’t believe the intensity shown by both teams.
    It was great for fans.

    We sometimes miss the opportunity to reflect on how much better this team is, because we focus on the things we need to improve on. All good teams will have ebbs and flows, it’s a very long season.

    We’ve seen Rittich blossoming as a goalie, Gaudreau dazzling us, Lindholm making our 1st line lethal and Monahan healthy again. Giordano is having a Norris year, Hamonic has improved immensely, our new youngsters on D are having an immediate impact and old Brodie is back.

    Tkachuk is 2nd on the team in scoring, yet we complain about his skating? I’m sure we have better things to focus on.

    Peter’s isn’t perfect, however what a difference in the way he handles the bench. Our players respect him and for what it’s worth, I do as well.

    It’s been a fun year, especially with GG leaving and adding some core pieces to our team.
    Treliving has done some great things. Remember how much we wanted change? Well we got it!

    I’m really looking forward to the new year and all the excitement and drama that surrounds it!

    I might have mentioned this, but I’m one happy Flames fan!!! ?

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    Meanwhile on ON…

    “I found myself wondering yesterday in the wake of the loss to San Jose: might that change if Connor McDavid privately walked into Katz’s office and suggested that either things have to improve, and right now, or he’d prefer to play elsewhere instead of wasting the prime of his career spinning his wheels with an organization that can’t seem to get it right?“

  • Sticktap

    Ah a lazy Sunday afternoon. Took a peek at ON, they are in some uproar over there. Does my old heart good. Looking forward to a big win by the boys tomorrow against San Jose, GFG