Flames 5, Blackhawks 4: The Replacement Goalies

Derek Leung

The starting goaltenders allowed a combined eight goals through two periods before the teams called on the bench warmers to close it out. TJ Brodie scored the game winner in overtime for a 5-4 Flames win.

First Period

Just after the match got underway, Mark Giordano pinged one off the left goalpost on Calgary's first chance. At the 1:13 mark, Mikael Backlund scored his 10th of the season on the backhand with an assist from Lee Stempniak. Chicago drew even on a top shelf shot over Berra's left shoulder as Patrick Kane scored for the 25th time this season at the 5:43 mark. Assists were awarded to Kris Versteeg and Nick Leddy on the play. After trading off chances for a few minutes, Lance Bouma (5) pitched a high one over Antti Raanta's left shoulder which bounced off the ice and, seemingly by magic, changed direction for another lead at the 11:34 mark. "Blue Car" Matt Stajan got the helper. Jonathan Toews left his feet trying to put one past Berra at 16:35, and Patrick Sharp netted the equalizer on the rebound, his 27th, as Toews tallied the well-earned assist. The opening period drew to a close with the score knotted at two and the Blackhawks taking 10 shots to Calgary's eight.

First Period Observations

  • It was nice to see the Flames take the lead so early. Maybe playing with a lead could end up taking some pressure off as the game progresses.
  • The Blackhawks Brandon Pirri limped to the bench and headed to the dressing room just past the eight minute mark, but returned shortly thereafter.
  • Dennis Wideman's head's up play saved a goal at the eight minute mark, just by good positioning - placing himself between the puck and the net.
  • Kevin Westgarth is easily the least skilled guy out there, he barely knows how to skate, but he's noticeably strong on the puck. He's really really trying.
  • There's no doubt that Chicago has the better team this season. Their passing is better, their positioning is stellar, and their chances were very good. Nevertheless, the Flames look like they really wanted this one, and were leading the Blackhawks in hits, 11-to-6 after one.
  • I'm a big fan of a good old-fashioned barn-burner. I'd be happy with a final score of 7-6, preferably with Calgary on top.

Second Period

Toews started out the second by putting one right between Berra's numbers for an easy save at 0:15. The Flames capitalized on an odd man rush at 3:21 when David Jones hit Matt Stajan in stride for a quick flip shot past Raanta for a 3-2 lead. The Blackhawks drew even on a wraparound by Marcus Kruger at 5:37, but it was waved off when it became apparent that Kruger pushed Berra's leg into the net to get the marker. Lee Stempniak nearly surprised Raanta at the nine minute mark with a snap shot on an extended Flames possession in Chicago's end. Soon after that, the first penalty of the game was called on Ben Street for holding the stick. Just 43 seconds into the penalty, a goal was scored, by CALGARY on a three-on-one odd man short-handed rush for a 4-2 Flames lead. Mikael Backlund scored his 11th of the season and second of the night, with assists from Stempniak and Giordano. After killing the rest of the penalty, including a pretty tough save on a Brandon Saad shot, Berra gave up his third goal of the night high on the glove side when Ben Smith scored his seventh of the season, unassisted. Berra got a piece of the puck, but it trickled in anyway. Corey Crawford was called in for Chicago with five minutes left in the period. Johnny Oduya hooked a Flame which led to an odd-man rush and a pile of players in Crawford's maw at the 15:58 mark. Marian Hossa repeated the Flames performance back at them with a shorty at the 17:33 mark, his 23rd goal of the season. The period ended with the score tied at four and the Flames starting up their second power play of the game.

Second Period Observations

  • Ladislav Smid led the game with a plus-2 rating.
  • The Blackhawks finished out the power play looking strong after giving up a shorthanded goal, but couldn't make the magic happen.
  • Chicago tries a lot of those "cute" little passes, but a lot of them are intercepted. Maybe the Champs should concentrate on the basics.
  • With just over a minute left in the period, Chicago had a golden opportunity to put the puck in a wide open cage, but could not close the deal.
  • This is Backlund's first multi-goal game since October 21st, 2010, a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He also leads the game with five shots-on-goal.
  • The only Blackhawks without a shot on goal after two were Johnny Oduya, Brandon Pirri, and Brent Seabrook. Only one player had three shots, Jonathan Toews.

Third Period

Karri Ramo started the third period in net for the Flames. The book on Berra closed with four goals given up on 24 shots. Hossa and Pirri had an odd man rush at 3:38 which Ramo stopped with a save to the midsection. The teams traded off quality odd man rushes for a few minutes. The Flames were trying to conduct a line change when they were called for icing at the 8:38 mark, and coach Bob Hartley wisely chose to use his timeout to give his tired fourth line a break before the ensuing faceoff. The Flames, and notably Ramo, continued to weather the storm of Blackhawks chances while the forward corps generated a few of their own for most of the rest of the period. The Chicago announcing team noted that the game hadn't gone 10 minutes without a goal through the first two periods. After the change in goaltenders, though, the game took on a more desperate tone. With about three and a half minutes left, Chicago camped in front of Ramo and unleashed a flurry of shots, all of which were stopped by the determined netminder. Most of the final minute was spent with the Blackhawks in possession of the biscuit in the Calgary zone. Regulation ended with four goals on each side of the scoresheet and one point for each team in the standings.

Third Period Observations

  • TJ Brodie put a shot on Crawford at the 1:03 mark which the Chicago netminder stopped with his gumdrop buttons. Play stopped for a moment while Crawford composed himself.
  • Ramo was on point with several key saves throughout the period, and generally looked pretty sharp throughout.
  • Chicago was playing slightly more....frantic than Calgary was.
  • Chris Butler had six blocked shots by the end of regulation, Kris Russell has four.
  • The starting goaltenders combined to allow eight goals on 39 shots. The relievers stopped their first 22 combined shots.

Bonus Hockey

Calgary got three good shots on Crawford in the first minute of the extra frame, but couldn't bury it. TJ Brodie buried the game winner on a wraparound at the 2:26 mark. Sean Monahan and Lee Stempniak earned the helpers on the goal.

Lee Stempniak earned three assists overall on the night, his first multi-point effort since March 15th last season, when he tallied two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Calgary and their three game winning streak will host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in their next game action. In the meantime, keep it dialed in right here at Matchsticks and Gasoline.

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