Tonight the Calgary Flames hosted the Detroit Red Wings in hopes of breaking their losing streak. It feels harsh saying "losing streak" this early in the season, but it's true. The Flames previously lost 5 of 6 games and tonight was a must-win.
Jonas Hiller started in net after the controversial move of putting Karri Ramo on waivers and then, ultimately, sending him down to Stockton. Joni Ortio dressed as backup and the Flames were set to win this pertinent game. Lance Bouma remains on the injured list with his healing fibula, while T.J. Brodie seems to be on the mend, but not quite enough to play in tonight's game.
Michael Frolik started off the night with the first shot on net and that lit up the Flames. They came out swinging and put on early pressure for the first few minutes. Ladislav Smid was in the line-up for the first time since January 2015, and it made an impact. Smid looked healthy and ready to win. Eventually the Red Wings took control and ended up scoring the first goal of the night. But that didn't discourage the Flames, who tied the game with a powerful goal by captain, Mark Giordano. Barely 10 seconds after scoring the Flames first goal, Gio took a delay of game penalty, during which the Wings scored again. Before the end of the period, Jiri Hudler dropped the gloves with Ferraro and, even though it didn't amount to much, it was quite a spectacle to see the vet get into a fight. Michael Ferland was on fire, but couldn't get one past Howard at the end of the period. It was 2-1 for Detroit to end the first 20 mins of play.
Joe Colborne took a bad penalty to end the opening period and the Flames started the second frame on the penalty kill. Ferland got hurt after an odd hit on one of the Detroit players against the boards. He immediately went down the tunnel, not to return for the rest of the evening. Offsides were costing the Flames prime chances to set up important plays. Holding and tripping calls against the Red Wings were not being called, yet the Flames persevered. It was a goalie show as Jimmy Howard and Jonas Hiller both looked solid in net and refused to let anything by. David Jones worked hard on the forecheck and this was the best second period of hockey that the home team has seen so far this season. The score remained 2-1 for Detroit.
Monahan opened the last period with a cross checking call that was, in my opinion, questionable at best. But it didn't take the Flames long to get back into it with 4 on 4 hockey when the Red Wings were called for tripping. A hit on Johnny Gaudreau behind the net wasn't called even though I assumed it would be a boarding call. Gaudreau was slow to get up and slow to make his way back to the bench. Josh Jooris had a partial breakaway, but Howard (again!) stoned him. Monahan had a couple of chances in the Red Wings zone, but gave the puck away twice. His stick handling skills are amazing, but his giveaways need some work. Detroit then put the pressure on Calgary's net, but Hiller stood solid and denied every chance. It was definitely a battle of the goalies in Calgary. With two minutes remaining in regulation, the Red Wings up by one goal, Dougie Hamilton rung one off the post and, 45 seconds later, Joe Colborne redeemed himself with a tying goal.
It was Mikael Backlund vs Howard at the beginning of 3 on 3 overtime, but Howard won that draw. Detroit pressed back with a few chances on the Calgary net only to be stopped over and over by Jonas Hiller. It was fast-paced, forward-moving hockey as everyone put forth their best effort. In the end, it was captain, Mark Giordano, who scored the winning goal and broke the spell of home-loses for the Flames. The final score was 3-2 for the Calgary Flames.
Flame of the game
Jonas Hiller. Without the pressure of a two-goalie tandem, Hiller looked more composed and relaxed in his main role throughout the game. I was pleasantly surprised by his third period display of poise and focus. I hope he can keep up the great work that he did in net against Detroit.
The Calgary Flames are going on a road trip. They will be in New York to take on the Rangers Sunday and the Islanders on Monday. Then they'll head back to Canada to take on the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday before returning home to host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. They'll round out their week by taking a trip to Edmonton for the Battle Of Alberta against the Oilers on Saturday night. It's a full week of hockey coming up. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Flames fans!
Go Flames Go!