Tonight the Calgary Flames were in Florida in a match-up against the Panthers. Michael Ferland slotted back into the line-up tonight on the fourth line, while Brandon Bollig and Mason Raymond were both scratches. Lance Bouma and Jonas Hiller are still on the injured list.
It was an interesting beginning as Hartley put Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler, and Joe Colborne in the starting line-up. The Flames have a habit of starting off strong and tonight was no exception. Their first couple of shifts looked intimidating to the opposition, but the Panthers struck first to open the game. Luckily, it didn't take long for David Jones to even the score. Josh Jooris dropped the mitts with the Panther's Mackenzie, but Jooris was the first to hit the ice. With about 4 mins left in the period, Karri Ramo let in another softie, but the Flames would not be deterred. They kept up the pressure until the end of the first. 2-1 score after one.
It was Ramo's best period by far during the game and the Flames best offensive period with two goals. Johnny Gaudreau had a great chance on the Panthers net but it wasn't Luongo who stopped it - it was the Panthers defense. Calgary put on some serious pressure that I thought would lead to a goal, but it went the other way and the Panthers Ekblad put the home team up 3-1. David Jones, the invisible one who I questioned last week, showed up to bring the Flames within one. Michael Ferland returned to the line-up and made a big impact in the middle frame with 3 hits during one shift. I have now nicknamed him Bam-Bam which got a positive response on Twitter. Johnny had another good chance on the Panthers net, but he just couldn't bury it tonight. During a Flames power play, T.J. Brodie threw one at the net to Hudler who took a shot, but it was Monahan who picked up the rebound and tied the game at 3-3.
The Flames had another good chance to start the third but couldn't capitalize. There was a lot of back and forth for the first half of the period. What I originally thought was a defensive mistake by Brodie seemed to be a non-call on Florida for holding which resulted in a goal. It was 4-3 for Florida. That seemed to be the turning point of his game and the Flames lost all wind from their sails. Turnovers were an issue again and Ramo wasn't at his best. I'm wondering if we'll see Ortio in net next game. In one last wild moment, the Panthers Trocheck celebrated a goal that didn't go in and then Gaudreau took the puck down the ice for a breakaway only to have the puck knocked off his stick before taking a chance on net. It was the last 5 minutes of the game when the visiting team came undone. The Panthers had a couple of good shots on net, but both hit the net. With Ramo on the bench for the extra attacker, Dennis Wideman gave the puck away and the Panthers had one last chance on net. Luckily, the puck went wide and the game ended with a score of 4-3 for Florida.
Flame Of The Game
David Jones. I have to give credit where credit is due - just when I thought Jones was disappearing before our very eyes, he stepped up his game and owned two goals tonight. The Colborne-Stajan-Jones line was easily the most productive and they made the biggest impact on the game. I'm glad to see Jones hasn't lost his mojo. When he's put in the right situation, he can create plays and finish them. He's great along the boards and he owned his position on ice tonight. I'd like to see him do that every game.
Go Flames Go!