Flames vs. Penguins Recap: A (mostly) boring recap for a (mostly) boring game

Derek Leung

The Flames lost the game, but they scored a goal. The first part of that sentence is bad, but the second is good. One day the Flames will be less bad and more good, but that day is not today.

The Penguins are a good hockey team. They are the best team in the eastern conference, and one of the best in the NHL. The Flames are not as good a team as the Penguins. They are one of the worst teams in the NHL this season. Despite this they still had to play the Penguins.

The Flames had a pretty good start to the game, though. At one point the shots were six to one for the Flames. That was good, because you are more likely to score if you have more shots on net. The Flames didn't score on any of these shots though.

A few minutes into the game, Brian McGrattan fought Deryk Engelland. It was a quick fight. McGrattan took him down with one punch.

Reto Berra stopped Sidney Crosby once. Then he stopped him again. Crosby is one of the best players in the world, so stopping him from scoring is really good. Berra made some good saves.

Paul Byron is another guy who did a good job. He took the puck away from Olli Maatta and almost scored. He didn't score though, because Marc-Andre Fleury stopped him.

Then the Penguins scored. Joe Colborne took a penalty, but before the Flames could touch the puck, Chris Kunitz shot it shortside on Berra. The puck went in, and the Penguins were happy. Berra was not. It was a bad goal to let in, which was unfortunate.

The first period ended with the Penguins outshooting the Flames 13-12. It was ultimately a pretty good period for the Flames, even though they were down by one.

The Penguins started the second period by taking a too many men penalty. That could have been bad for them, but it wasn't, because the Flames do not have a good powerplay. The Flames did not score on the powerplay.

The Penguins did score a few minutes later though. Matt Niskanen shot the puck on net. The puck hit Berra's right pad and bounced in. Berra fell over on his back after the goal was scored. It was kind of sad. He probably felt bad.

Jiri Hudler tried to score on a wraparound a little later. It was a good scoring chance, but he didn't score, because Fleury moved fast enough to stop him.

Matt Stajan then tripped Kris Letang. This gave the Penguins a powerplay. The Flames almost scored on this powerplay though. Mikael Backlund had a very good chance, but Fleury spun around blindly and managed to stop it with the back of his head. Otherwise it probably would have gone in, but it didn't.

The Penguins didn't score, but then Ladislav Smid took a penalty. He had the puck, but James Neal took it away from him. Smid hooked Neal to try to stop him, but this gave the Penguins another powerplay. They didn't score, though.

Robert Bortuzzo then took a penalty, but the Flames did not score on the powerplay. It had been a while since the Flames scored. Crosby almost got a goal though. He rang the puck off the post. It made a very loud ping sound, but did not go in.

The Flames outshot the Penguins 10-6 in the second period. That's pretty good, but they didn't score any goals, so that wasn't.

Sean Monahan hooked Jussi Jokinen to start the third, but a minute into the Penguins' powerplay, Evgeni Malkin took a penalty for holding. Because of this, the two teams played four on four for a minute. Nobody scored, though, so the score remained 2-0 for the Penguins.

Then Bortuzzo went for a high hit on Mark Giordano. Giordano stayed down on the ice for a little bit, and it looked bad. Everybody was angry. There was a giant scrum. At one point Mike Cammalleri was kind of sitting on top of Crosby, which was kind of funny. It looked bad though. Bortuzzo took a major penalty, and was ejected from the game. This gave the Flames a five minute powerplay.

Giordano went away for a little bit, but then he was back. It was kind of weird he got to play again so soon, because the hit looked bad, but he played on the powerplay anyway. Cammalleri got mad at Brandon Sutter during the major, and crosschecked him. This ended the Flames' powerplay, because he took a penalty. It seemed kind of selfish of him, especially since the Flames were only down by two goals.

Both teams played four on four again for two minutes. Malkin almost got a breakaway, but TJ Brodie skated back to cut him off, and Berra stopped his shot, so that was good.

And then... And then...

Something magical happened.

Brodie chipped the puck ahead to Backlund, who received it in the neutral zone. He was, however, unable to get a handle on it, and bounced it up ahead into the offensive zone. Backlund fought his way through Letang, took a shot, and scored. He scored a goal. Mikael Backlund, of the Calgary Flames, went top shelf against Fleury to score a goal for the Flames. It was literally one of the best things to ever happen in the history of the entire world.

The Flames had 8:31 left in the game to even it up. They tried really hard, but could not score again. That was too bad, because everybody seemed really excited after the goal. Even though the Flames didn't tie the game, it was still nice to see them score. They lost 2-1, though, and that was bad. The Flames outshot the Penguins 28-26, and were in the game the entire time, though, so that was good.

Some thoughts:

  • Aaron Ekblad had four goals and one assist against the Kingston Frontenacs tonight. The Frontenacs are a good team, as they are second in their division in the OHL. Ekblad plays for the Barrie Colts. He is one of the top draft choices for the upcoming NHL draft. The Flames should consider taking him, because he seems very good. He is also a defencemen, and the Flames don't have many prospects who are defencemen.
  • The Flames set a new record for longest home shutout in this game with 196:56. Their record for longest consecutive shutout ever is 182:42. Backlund's goal means this shutout only lasted 174:59, which is less than 182:42. That's good.
  • Colborne's most common linemates are McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth. I feel bad for Colborne, because I'm not sure what he's supposed to do with those linemates. Then again, none of the other centres should play with them either. Maybe it would be better if the Flames didn't have both of them, but they do.
  • They have them because they are supposed to make the Flames tougher to play against, but the Penguins scored both their goals when they were on the ice. That doesn't make the Flames sound very tough to me. Colborne, Dennis Wideman, and Shane O'Brien were also on the ice when the Penguins scored their goals.
  • The Flames stopped both the Penguins powerplay and Crosby from scoring tonight. While both goals Berra let in were bad, he still made a lot of good saves. These are moral victories for the team to take. Moral victories are important for a rebuilding team, because those are most of the victories the Flames will have this season. That's okay, though. It means they will get a better draft pick, and still feel okay.
  • Backlund is a very good hockey player. He had four shots on net, which is good, and one goal, which is very, very, very good. He also had the greatest corsi on the team at 66.7%, because he was on the ice for 14 shot attempts for, and only 7 against. He also spent most of his time playing against Crosby. This means that Backlund not only helped stop Crosby from scoring, but also scored a goal himself. That's just one reason Backlund is a very good player.
  • Monahan was 9-2 in the faceoff circle tonight, which was good. Winning faceoffs is a good skill, and Monahan winning so many against a good team like the Penguins is a good sign for him. He mostly played against Malkin, who is a good hockey player. He also played some of the highest minutes he has ever played in an NHL game. He played 18:07, which is a lot. He started most of the game in the offensive zone, but he is only 19 years old, so that's okay. This was a good game for him, and that's good.
The Flames will be in Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on January 13. The puck will drop at 5 PM MT. The Flames might score a goal, but they also might not.

They recalled Ben Street from the Abbotsford Heat because they have no extra forwards, and are going on a road trip. Street scored an overtime winner for Abbotsford tonight, which was good, because they won the game.
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