This says it all:
Johnny Gaudreau: 10 goals, 27 points in 35 games. 27 points in 30 games since being scratched. "Too small."— Matchsticks&Gasoline (@MatchsticksCGY) December 23, 2014
He is such a special breed of player and we have him. We have one of the most exciting young players in the NHL, hell in the last few years on our team. He is going to be a remarkable player.
First Period -
Calgary opened the period with a little hop in their step. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit or maybe it's the concept of losing eight streak bloody well better motivate you to open up the game and play hard. The reunited second line of Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, and Jiri Hudler would get the first decent chance as Granlund got off a nice shot. The Flames looked to be a bit of a handful early on as the they were getting into the Kings' zone and attempting to strike first.
That wouldn't last as Trevor Lewis would break into the zone VERY EASILY with limited to no resistance, take a shot on net, and make it 1-0. The goal itself wasn't the nicest as it beat Jonas Hiller under his glove and looked like one he wanted back. Hell, I think he'd trade his first born to have that one back. Down 1-0, the Flames soon found themselves on the defense and looking to draw even. Johnny Hockey would back-check and break up a passing play happening to show off his defensive skills.
The Flames would get a few decent chances as Hudler would Granlund a nice pass to get a okay shot on net too. Hey, that's something right? Unfortunately the Flames' fourth line would find themselves trapped in the defensive zone for a chunk of time that we would like back. Luckily, the Flames caught a break as war-criminal Anze Kopitar would be called for tripping up Kris Russell. The Flames' power play looked flat getting absolutely no shots on net. Hell, Trevor Lewis had a chance on the PK for the Kings.
David Jones did a dumb thing tripping Drew Doughty sending the Kings (whose PP was 6/17 in the last few games) which would make it a 2-0 game. After a scramble in front, Marian Gaborik would score on a rebound of his. Gaborik's goal was his 11th of the season. Paul Byron and Joe Colborne would have a great chance late in the first but the period would end with the Kings being up 2-0.
Second Period -
The second period often isn't Calgary's best. Well, most periods as of late aren't their best. This one was a very one-sided experience for much of it. Human-knee destroyer Dustin Brown and his lackey Jarret Stoll had a decent chance on net early on eventually leading into a flurry of the Kings basically moving into our zone, buying the property, and putting a house on it. Seriously it was like the Kings owned the entire ice. Fourth line shot-blocking #GRITCHART champion Lance Bouma would take an unnecessary elbowing call on Mike Richards sending the Kings back to the man-advantage. Late into power play, Jamie McBain would score his 2nd goal of the year making it 3-0.
From there the uphill battle continued as the Kings kept coming and coming. Though the Flames would fight back a bit and thankfully Sean Monahan would get a quality shot attempt off to show a sign of life in the game. Kris Russell's shot-blocking heroics appeared and came in handy blocking yet another one. He looked a little banged up from it but returned later on. He's the son of a bull-rider so he has the necessary intangibles to tough it out.
Finally Bob Hartley listened again and put Hudler and Gaudreau with Monahan for a bit. The line that needs to exist ended up existing for a bit in the second. The trio have for all purposes been the best Flames' forwards this year so maybe in this slide, front-loading the team's top line might help things. Moments after the creation of the best line ever, Brandon Bollig destroyed Kopitar with a "clean hit" that was characterized by John Shannon of Sportsnet as:
"That's a clean hit - he was a little bit vulnerable though"
- John Shannon
Naturally because it's the NHL and you need to seek retribution for everything, Jeff Carter cross-checked Bollig which sent the Flames back to the power play. Then the wonderkin Johnny Hockey appeared scoring his 8th of the year with assists to Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell. The entire power play wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Bollig using that crud-rock of a body to destroy someone and get attacked after. Bollig did good. Bollig deserves a 3rd assist on that goal.
Third Period -
Right away into the third period, I felt like this was the 9th straight loss for the Flames. Then something crazy happened. A TJ Brodie giveaway lead to the Kings almost going up 4-1. Fortunately the steel god known as Postie, Jonas' best friend stepped up. Brandon Bollig continued his MVP game of his career hitting the post as everyone on Twitter called for a Bollig goal to trigger a comeback.
The Kings would continue their insane pressure they used all game to make things difficult but the Flames continued to fight back. After a few big hits from Brayden McNabb on Byron, Jake Muzzin on Hudler, and Doughty getting into it with Byron; the Flames had enough. The reunited line of Fathers and sons continued to push back and generate some chances for Calgary.
Some how and some way, Mason Raymond missed an open net basically with a dazzling attempt from his knees on the backhand. What do you do right? I mean Raymond wasn't having the greatest night or season for that matter. Then came the true form of Johnny Hockey.
After a smart zone entry by the captain Mark Giordano, a pass to Monahan, and then to Gaudreau behind the net lead to him walking around in front of Jonathan Quick basically alone and he put it past the Kings' goalie to make it 3-2. Oh and I should mention that during this time we took another risk by pulling the goalie early, right?
It wasn't over. Not by a fucking long shot -- pardon my French. With just over 1 minute left in the game, Jiri Hudler (you know, that amazing guy we signed a few years back) fed Gaudreau a stretch pass to which he carried into the zone, attempted to pass to his left with, but it bounced off Drew Doughty and in.
First. Career. Hat Trick.
It wasn't over yet, no not at all. For you see, these Calgary Flames though they have faltered as of late. Though they are regressing they do not give up the fight nor will they ever. These Calgary Flames are the most exciting Calgary Flames of the last 10 years.
We were off to OT.
Dustin Brown had a decent chance on Hiller early on, followed by the Flames being caught in their own zone for a bit. Finally they broke out of that slump with a great shot by Monahan on Quick. Moments later Hudler and son continued their assault on the Kings' castle with a 2 on 1 chance that almost ended the game.
Moments later, our captain, the heart and soul of our franchise Mark Giordano entered the zone and went hard to the net putting it past Quick to end the game.
The Flames win 4-3 in OT and end their 8 game losing streak. They were down 3-0. They came back. They saw, they came, and they conquered. The Kings' kingdom of recent success, shattered in a pool of their blood, with their heads on pikes. We came into Staples Centre, we had a few bad moments, but we rebounded. Glory to Gaudreau. Glory to our captain.
Stray Observations -
- Funny how Ari was right all along about about Monahan with Hudler and Gaudreau. Keep them together. The offence will come.
- Ari also called the Gaudreau hat-trick too.
- Mark Giordano, when we needed him the most did what was needed. He redeemed himself for the missed shot that lead to the Tanev goal the other night.
- I can't comprehend it either, Floob.
I still haven't grasped the idea that Johnny Gaudreau is a Calgary Flame. this is thoroughly good— Jiggy Pudding (@bookofloob) December 23, 2014
- Mason Raymond had a rough night. I'm willing to believe having him with Byron and Granlund might be better long term here for Raymond. Or at least until Mikael Backlund comes back. Raymond - Backlund - Byron is very exciting.
- Shout out to Bollig for having a legitimate good game. Drew a penalty, had a few shots, and nearly scored. Do that more often.
- Hiller could use some more defence. More consistent defence. The Trevor Lewis goal was terrible and a bad bounce but the zone entry he had was completely too easy. Glencross sucked.
We're never going to stop calling him Johnny Hockey, by the way.— Matchsticks&Gasoline (@MatchsticksCGY) December 23, 2014
- This is what we needed to get back on track. A back from the brink of death victory that puts Calgary back on track. Maybe, but this is a positive way to go into the Christmas break.
- What if we star Ramo next game. He deserves it.
No surprise - Johnny gets the fire helmet! pic.twitter.com/ncirmzE9b5— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) December 23, 2014