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Game 18 Recap: Svensanity, Byronacity, and a win

Sven awakened, Byron scored two goals. Hiller let in a weird one. Oh and Engelland punched a guy in the head a lot. Eric Francis promoted fighting culture like it's normal too.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames, after being slaughtered publicly and embarrassingly in Raleigh were looking to rebound tonight at home. After a 3-2 record on the recent road trip, Calgary wanted to impress hometown fans with a game they wouldn't forget. David Jones was tentatively uncertain for the roster tonight as Setoguchi was poised (YUCK) to play tonight. Fortunately Ol' Davey Jones was able to play tonight and the ill effects of the flu didn't seem visible.

Oh yeah and Brian McGrattan played but whatever right?

First Period -

The immediate theme of every game this season appears to be lose the draw and allow a zone entry but you know what? That's okay because this period wasn't the predictable Phoenix Arizona Las Vegas Puerto Rico Coyotes period. Given the necessary, back to reality beating the Hurricanes did last game; the Flames rebounded. They were generating shot attempts and after Lauri Korpikoski held TJ Brodie (not romantically), the Flames got their first power play.

The power play had been successful as of late going recently 6/6 and vaulting the Flames into 8th in the league on the man-advantage. Calgary would only get 3 shots and and a handful of good chances on their first PP though thanks to Arizona utilizing shot-blocking and efficient positioning to limit the Flames. An awkward moment transpired shortly after with a scrum in front of the net, Dennis Wideman put the puck toward Jonas Hiller for him to cover it up. It definitely wasn't communicated and it looked incredibly risky.

Moments later pugilist Deryk Engelland would fight BJ Crombeen and beat him to a pulp. Cool, good job Deryk.
After a series of unusual moments: TJ Brodie stick breaking leading to Arizona's first series of actual attempts on Hiller; it would be Paul Byron who would score first for the Flames. Thankfully to an amazing zone entry followed by Sven Baertschi passing from behind the net bouncing around until it landed on Byron's stick. Byron would finally score his 2nd of the season.

Curtis Glencross started the game with a jump, his aggressive play continued as a blocked shot lead to a great shot on net but the real story of the first would be Sven. After driving into the offensive zone and getting in behind the net in a scrum, he drew a penalty on former Oilers' centre Sam Gagner. The second PP of the game would not be as effective as the first, generating very little. Baertschi would have a great tip in close to the net but that would be it. Only a brief moment after the PP, Coyotes captain Shane Doan would take advantage of an excellent forecheck and pass from Antoine Vermette roofing it past Hiller. The period would end shortly after with a 1-1 tie.

Second Period -

The Flames started the second period on a much more elevated pace than others in the last few games. The Flames immediately generated a few more chances before play went back the other way. Connor Murphy run a shot off the post catching Hiller only slightly. The continued strong play of the Sven-Byron combo continued as Kris Russell on a turnover fed a beauty pass to Baertschi who then fed Paul Byron to make it a 2-1 game. Johnny Gaudreau, not on the score sheet yet continued his strong play of driving into the offensive zone leading to another series of shots on net.

The Flames would strike again as a scrum in front of Mike Smith lead to Sean Monahan poking garbage in to pot home his 7th of the season. The Baertschi - Byron - Jooris line continued to be a force but unfortunately after Sven was mowed down from behind, Jooris took a cross-checking penalty. The Flames PK would stand strong continuing their aggressive play as Monahan would get a great scoring chance a man down. Alas, it would not last as Vermette would be left wide open and put the rebound in the back of the net.

After an unusual amount of fourth line pressure from the Coyotes and the Flames responding with a few chances on Mike Smith, Joe Vitale would put a completely questionable shot on Jonas Hiller that some how went in. The Flames would not let this stand as another fantastic play by Jiri Hudler to enter the zone and pass off to TJ Brodie who would then out-wait Mike Smith to pass to Mark Giordano at the side of the net who put it past Smith to make it 4-3. The pairing now has combined for 35 points on the season which is tops in the league.

The Flames would close out the period leading 4-3 and leading in shots 21-15.

Third Period -

The final frame would take a similar page from the second, as the hop in the Flames' step (probably because Brian McGrattan was playing) would continue. Immediately into the period Brodie would blast one on net but the sustained pressure would not amount to much more. The Coyotes would somehow begin to show up generating more opportunities and increasing tension in our defensive zone. Finally it would break and open the game up a bit. The top line started buzzing more, developing more plays in Phoenix's end which lead to another David Jones-Glencross tandem attack.

Paul Byron, hungry for his first hat trick was sprung on a beautiful breakaway on an outlet pass from Brodie. Unfortunately Byron was stopped but that didn't stop the fervent forward from continuing to do everything possible to make something happen. Murphy would have another beautiful point shot on Hiller, waking him up late in the third. Finally after a gritty performance along the boards, Jones would be rewarded with his 3rd of the season throwing it on net and it deflecting off Smith's stick and in.

Ignited by the late goal, a continued and more relentless attack continued and after a Martin Hanzal knee-on-knee with Ladislav Smid, the PP was back to work. Both PP units were creating hell on ice in the Coyotes' zone but it didn't result in a goal. Regardless, it was a fantastic man-advantage and one of the better PPs this season. Dave Tippett pulled the goalie with just over 1:20 left on the clock and Paul Byron almost tipped home an empty net goal but it hit the post.

Seriously. Paul Byron and the Hockey Gods need to sit down about this. Flames win 5-3.

Flame of The Game

Do we need to even need to guess? It's ya boi Paul Byron. Yes, I had to say "ya boi" because Paul Byron arguably had his best game as a member of the Calgary Flames. He was doing everything possible tonight to ensure a victory. Here is a run down of what Paul Byron did tonight:

  • 2 Goals! He broke onto the scoreboard and didn't try to stop. His 2nd and 3rd goals of the year were well deserved. We love you, Paul.
  • +1 tonight but who cares about +/- anyway?
  • 57% CF ES with 57% OZS which isn't bad either.
  • 64% CF ALL with 62% OZS too! So he had some padded starts but he was also responsible in the defensive zone too.
  • 3 hits (truculence), 2 blocks (pugnacity), and 14:54 TOI
He was magnificent tonight and played like a 6'6 220lb player. He is the definition of a player who has done everything possible to make a roster (albeit the Flames) and prove he can stay in the NHL now. Oh and Sportsnet agreed with us too because he was the first star.

Stray Observations
  • McGrattan wasn't too bad. I mean he looked better than Brandon Bollig. Just over 6:00 TOI and was 50% CF
  • Max Reinhart looked better tonight. He only had 7:15 TOI but a bummer 38% in the face off dot. It'll take a bit more time for him to get adjusted to the NHL level. He was fantastic last season with Abbotsford and when he is probably sent back, the baby Flames will count on his strong play to help them out.
  • Sven, everybody. I have no idea where this guy was hiding but it's good to see what he can do when he is on. For some ungodly reason Hartley gave him just over 10:00 TOI (I'm pretty sure someone called that on Twitter) but he had his best game of the year. He always seems to impress at times and disappear in others. I'm confident he can continue doing this. Well, I hope.
  • Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau might be the best zone entry players on the Flames. Their confidence entering the zone is what we need to see more of. I'd like to see them play with Monahan more but the chemistry they're developing with Markus Granlund helps support the top six in the right way.
  • Mark Giordano received the Sportsnet cup for his strong play for the beginning of the season. Keep the praise coming, folks. We love it. We love you, Gio.
  • Eric Francis, barf. During the first intermission he was raving about the return of Brian McGrattan along with the "peak performance" (paraphrasing) of staying in fighting shape. Whatever that means. The team doesn't need fighting to win games. As you've seen lately, the Flames aren't afraid to get involved. Brodie, Monahan, Glencross, Gio, Byron, etc. They all will go into it. We don't need guys to fight and "inspire" the team. We want guys who can play. I may sound like a broken record about this stuff but I'm optimistic that one day maybe Mr. Francis will wake up and realize it's 2014.
  • The only good news he brought (continuing with Francis) was confirmation that Gaudreau will be living with Kris Russell and staying for the rest of the season. For some reason I can picture Kris and Johnny baking cookies and getting into shenanigans. I smell a CBC sitcom in the making.
  • Give Hiller a break. Ramo needs to get in. Another weird goal tonight. Give Karri Ramo some confidence and play him. With the schedule we have coming up, the Flames need two goalies capable of shouldering that load.
Next Game Wishes:

Unrealistic: Start Ramo. Sit Engelland or Smid for Diaz. Play Sven more. Byron scores more goals.
Realistic: NONE OF THAT.

There, that's it. Flames win 5-3! The next game is on Saturday at the Saddledome as the Ottawa Senators are in town. I'll be in Calgary as I'm escaping Edmonton this weekend to come down and hang out. Maybe the Flames will win, but if they lose please don't blame me. If you're around this weekend, bug me on twitter. Stay tuned tomorrow morning for Ari's fancy stats recap along with all the cool stuff you'll find here!