After throwing everything they had at the Ducks in a 3-2 shootout loss on Friday, the Flames came into this game needing a similar effort against a similar quality opponent. They came out flying in the first period. scoring twice and chasing Jackets goalie Steve Mason within the first five minutes of the game, but sat back for the final forty minutes and saw a two-goal lead evaporate before securing the winner in a thrilling OT period to take the game by a score of 3-2.
After not being able to generate much in the way of offence in the first period of their last two games, the Flames came were chomping at the bit in the opening frame this evening, as Jarome Iginla scored 2:20 in and Brendan Morrison added another one just over two minutes later to put his team up 2-0 and end Steve Mason's night early. The home side managed to keep the pressure on for the remainder of the opening frame, holding the Jackets to just six shots on net while out-chancing them 7-5.
You got the sense that the Flames were beginning to lose control of things in the second, and they nearly escaped the period unscathed before Antoine Vermette scored shorthanded with just 1:15 remaining to pull the Jackets to within one heading into the final frame.
Again, the Flames managed to postpone any further damage to the lead they'd been sitting on for the majority of the game until the final minutes of the third period, when Rick Nash beat Kipper with an unstoppable shot to tie the game at two with just under five minutes remaining. Columbus managed to hold the Flames to just eleven shots in the final two periods of this game, matching their total from the first period alone, while out-chancing them 12-7 the rest of the way.
The Flames would take over in the extra frame, however, as early end-to-end action gave way to a sustained wave of pressure from the home team before Jarome Iginla accepted a sweet no-look backhand pass from Alex Tanguay and beat Mattieu Garon for his second of the game to seal the much-needed 'W' for the Flames, moving them out of the basement for the time being. Chances ended up dead even at 18 a side tonight after the Flames' dominant OT run, although the Blue Jackets were the better team for the better part of the game with the home side holding a lead.
Despite accounting for the majority of this evening's scoring for the good guys, the Flames' top line only actually directed six shots on net and finished the game well in the red both in terms of scoring chances and Corsi, finishing -14 and -16 respectively on this night, going PvP with Rick Nash's line.
The line of Glencross-Morrison-Bourque finished in the black in both categories tonight, but it was the trio of Hagman, Backlund, and Kotalik (mostly just Hagman and Backlund) that made a difference in tonight's game without getting overtly favourable circumstances in terms of offensive zone starts.
Backlund assisted on Iginla's opening goal with a beauty pass while Hagman was all over the ice tonight, stick-handling through the Columbus defence and generating several good scoring chances in the third period. He was strong on the puck all night and his play in the extra frame carrying the puck into the offensive zone and working hard along the boards to keep it there eventually set up the game-winner. That line was a combined +11 in scoring chance differential, but only +2 in Corsi, as the whole team took a beating in this game's final forty minutes.
Mark Giordano blocked an astounding seven shots tonight and added to his point streak with an assist on Iggy's first goal of the game and was the Flames' best defencemen in terms of scoring chances at EV, finishing a +5 on the evening and dragging Cory Sarich along with him. The veteran defender was +4 in the same category tonight and assisted on the captain's OT game winner. In a game when the opposing team fired only 24 shots on net, you wouldn't expect Kiprusoff to play a big part in this one, but he did. He can't be faulted on either of the Blue Jackets' goals in this game and played very well positionally, making several big, point-blank stops to stop this one from getting away from his team.
Overall, the way this evening transpired probably won't do much to boost the spirits of Flames fans, but it's the result that matters. They got the two points to kick off their three-game home stand on a good note, and will look to keep the ball rolling on Thursday when captain Phaneuf and the Leafs come to town.