The Calgary Flames visited the Washington Capitals tonight in what was supposed to be a milestone night for Ovechkin. He is tied with Sergei Fedorov for being the highest scoring Russian player in the NHL. All Ovi needed was one more goal to surpass Fedorov, but it didn't happen tonight against the Flames.
Karri Ramo started in net again and it wasn't a good start. I'm sure some of you believe it's okay for a goalie to play out of his net and I understand that, but I'm a firm believer that if goalies want to play outside of the net they should have become forwards. Needless to say, it made me nervous when Ramo played around the back of the net. But, when he played the puck near the blue line, I leaped right out of my seat. Don't get me wrong, Ramo is a good goalie. But every goalie has his/her weakness and Ramo's seems to be his rebounds and that he makes mistakes when he plays the puck outside of the crease. On the other hand, the defense was on point tonight. They played smart, made the right decisions, and...well...T.J. Brodie. Engelland made saves, Wideman played net, and even Monahan took on the blue line role when he tipped a puck away from the net to stifle a chance for the home team. It was all Capitals in the first period until the end when Brodie skated the puck end to end and took a shot. Jones picked up the rebound but the period ended with no score.
In spite of my nervousness about Ramo in the first 20 minutes, he was amazing in net during the second period. He looked more stable and the defense in front of him helped out a lot. The Bennett-Frolik duo struck first as the Flames open the scoring. The Capitals seemed to be playing down to their opponent, as though they assumed it would be an easy win. When the Caps did put some pressure on the Flames, Ramo was solid in net. This may have possibly been the best period of hockey for Ramo so far this season. The game got more intense near the mid-point of the second and some bad calls were being made. Washington's Latta collided with Mark Giordano and Gio was given an uncalled for penalty. It's so rare to see the Flames captain get angry, but when he does, you know there was a bad call. And Gio was livid. But the refs made up for it a few seconds into the penalty when they called another weak one on Oshie for interference. It was a physical game from then on as the Captials and Flames had bodies flying everywhere in desperation for a win. Sean Monahan made good decisions and created a lot of plays while also taking shots on net. I knew it was only time until he got his first goal of the night. The score was 1-0 for the visiting team heading into the third period.
Calgary put pressure on Grubauer in the Capitals net to start the third, which looked promising. When Monahan finally had his moment in the spotlight with the Flames second goal of the night, I was almost convinced that the Flames had the win. But the game wasn't over yet. Tempers flared and a scuffle broke out between Derek Grant and Tom Wilson which led Brandon Bollig to get involved. Bollig (6'2" and 220lbs) took on the Capitals young, gritty Tom Wilson (6'4" and 215lbs) and Bollig won the draw in spite of the Flames getting the extra penalty. During the penalty, the Caps scored and broke the shutout. With all the pressure coming from the home team, Washington scored again to tie the game and force overtime.
Patience was key in the 5 minute 3 on 3 overtime. Kris Russell had a great chance on net after holding onto the puck to find a slot to shoot in. But it was Brodie and Monahan who went head to head with Grubauer and Mony became the overtime hero for the Flames and earned them a 3-2 win in spite of Coach Trotz challenging the goal due to offside. The call on the ice stands and the Flames claim victory.
Flame Of The Game
Sean Monahan. A lot of people have been complaining that Monahan had a slow start this year. Well, he's baaaaack! With 4 shots on net and 2 goals, Monahan was the Flames saviour tonight in overtime when he buried the game winning goal after a full 60 minutes of impressive hockey. Like I said last game, he keeps getting better and better. And I think his best games are yet to come.
Go Flames Go!