The Flames made quick work of getting back in the win column in Columbus after yesterday's loss to the Red Wings, in a game where their fortunes were very different than a mere twenty-four hours ago. After a slow start, the visitors went up 2-0 before the game was fifteen minutes old on goals by Nik Hagman and Ian White--both coming just as Flames powerplays had expired--with Bourque adding another one before the period expired to counter a late goal by Derek Dorsett.
The Flames were in cruise control from then on out, otherwise known as the "defensive shell;" the visitors fired only five shots on a shaky Steve Mason, but still managed to find the scoresheet, as Bourque scored his second of the night, a beauty shorthanded marker off a 2-on-1 rush with Mikael Backlund, the rookie's third point in two games.
The final frame was much of the same. After Jan Heda scored halfway through to bring the Jackets within two, but any hopes of a comeback were short lived when Alex Tanguay fired home a sweet one-timer off a Jarome Iginla pass to restore the Flames' three goal advantage. Bourque would cap off the evening by completing the hat trick with just six seconds left. The Jackets would outshoot their visitors 11-8 in the third, with Calgary finishing with a slim advantage, 23-22. Henrik Karlsson made 20 saves for his first career win in his first NHL game; he didn't have to be great, as the Jackets weren't exactly making life difficult for him, but made some key saves when he had to.
The team as a whole was never exactly dominant in this game, but put together enough strong stretches of hockey to generate scoring opportunities, and more importantly, made good of them. The first line turned in a much better effort on the scoresheet tonight, combining for six points and a +8. They also managed to finish in the black, however marginally, in terms of Corsi, and out-chanced their opposition 14-6, up against Methot, Dorsett, and Umberger. The only other line to replicate that result was the trio of Jackman-Conroy-Meyer, although all three ended up with a -1 on the scoresheet. Morrison, Jokinen, and Hagman appear to have spent the most time out against the Nash line as a unit, although Bourque and Glencross also saw their fair share of the Columbus captain--and they came out on the wrong end of things Corsi-wise and in the scoring chance count, despite Bourque's three goal, four point effort.
Mikael Backlund followed up last night's two goal effort with an assist on Bourque's second goal, while, giving credit where it's due, Olli Jokinen finished the game with two assists and looked to have a little more jump in his step after being benched for the majority of the third period in last night's loss; he also came out on the positive side of the scoring chance count, which probably deserves a mention.
Also worth noting:
- Rene Bourque played a whopping 6:49 on the powerplay tonight on six opportunities with the man advantage, a day after being compared to Cam Neely by Brent Sutter
- Jarome Iginla played only 16:15 of ice time tonight, behind Hagman, Jokinen, and the aforementioned Bourque
- Brendan Mikkelson played 12:01 in his Flames debut alongside Cory Sarich, and finished the game a -1, +4 in terms of Corsi. Him and Sarich were the only defenders to finish on the positive side of things.