The Calgary Flames played the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in a game, I assumed, they had a good possibility to win. I wasn't completely wrong. The possiblity was there, but, like most games this season, they just couldn't keep it together for a full 60 minutes.
The Calgary Flames didn't have the best first period, but the potential was there and they held off the opposition. It was a chippy opening to a scoreless first frame. Karri Ramo was zoned-in during the first 20 minutes and didn't let up. The blue line needed some work, giveaways and bad decisions being their main issues. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau looked great on the power play. T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano were the best defensive pairing of the period. The only problem - it was as if the Lightning could predict every play and, from that, they stalled every chance the Flames had. The first period was scoreless.
The Flames looked much more cohesive this period in spite of a potential goal by Stamkos. The obvious kicking motion justified the goal being called off. It didn't take long for Tampa Bay to get it back though and the score was 1-0 Lightning. In spite of the first few minutes, it was a really good period of hockey as both teams played equally well. The Flames generated some plays, most impressive were their powerplays. Monahan and Gaudreau were setting each other up and gaining some space on the ice and in front of the net. Sam Bennett showed off his skills in the Tampa Bay zone when he passed to himself by banking the puck off the boards before being tripped up by Condra. Bishop was focused throughout the period, but he looked a little shaky, for a moment, near the 10 minute mark as Calgary turned up the pressure. The Flames must have realized the problems with their stretch-passes because I didn't see many tonight throughout the first 40 minutes of play. Monahan had another good chance on net later in the period, but Bishop stoned him. It was good to see the Flames generating more chances and a lot more play in the Tampa Bay zone. The score was tied at 1 heading into the last frame.
It was obvious in the final period that these were two teams who both desperately wanted the win. It was good play matched by good play and bad play matched by bad play. Until the last five minutes...again. A ridiculous late-period penalty called on Giordano resulted in a legitimate Stamkos goal and, this time, there was no kicking motion involved. With Ramo out of position, Tampa Bay knocked another one home to finalize the score at 3-1 for the home team.
Flame Of The Game
Sean Monahan. With 5 shots on net tonight, he had the most of all Flames players. His faceoff percentage was over 60% and he had almost 23 minutes of ice time. There was a lot of effort of him tonight and I see more and more ambition from him as the season progresses. He may not be the best player on the ice, but he's getting close.
The Flames travel to Washington to face the Holtby and the Capitals tomorrow night.