It was a fast-paced first period of hockey as the Calgary Flames hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. Where the Flames let the Hawks walk all over them last match-up, this game was full of Flames steam. Jonas Hiller and Lance Bouma were still absent because of injuries. Jiri Hudler sat this one out with the flu and Mason Raymond took his place.
Darling kept the Blackhawks alive in the early part of the first period as the Flames doubled the shots on net over the visitors. And then Karri Ramo happened. After attempting a save, the puck slipped out in front of the net and Ramo, while splayed out to the side of the net, made a backhanded save to keep the rebound out. I haven't seen a save like that in a long time on this team and I think it was what Ramo needed to keep his motivation going. The Flames opened the scoring when Mason Raymond provided a good screen in front of Darling to allow Sean Monahan the first goal of the game. In spite of the challenge, the goal was good and the Flames were up 1-0. The first line was a great spectacle during the period even though most lines have done very well. Later in the period, Dougie Hamilton made some good plays, such as kicking the puck out from in front of the net after his stick was broken during a check. But then he made a big mistake, namely, he grabbed onto a Blackhawks player and hauled him down to the ice, which resulted in a Flames penalty. Chicago scored and the game was tied going into the second.
The Flames looked a little uncoordinated at first, but they quickly shook it off amongst the Blackhawks pressure. Kris Russell, who favoured his hand earlier in the game did not return for the second period. With the blue line depleting, Mark Giordano drew an tripping penalty as he approached the Chicago net and the Flames went on the powerplay. TJ Brodie and Joe Colborne had a good chance at the net, but there were no goals and the score remained tied 1-1 heading into the final period.
It didn't look good when Brandon Bollig took a puck to the face, but he remained in the game. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were the pair who provided all the offensive entertainment near the end of the third, while Brodie was a gem defensively. With about nine minutes left in the game, the shots on goal were 9-0 in favour of the Flames. But they just couldn't solve Darling.
With the score locked at 1-1, the teams prepared for overtime. That was the best hockey I've seen the Flames ever play, which is probably why I like 3 on 3 so much. Monahan, Giordano, and Brodie started things off with fast-pace and ambitious plays. Monahan kept slapping at the puck outside of the net, but Darling stoned every attempt. Even when Brodie accidentally gave away the puck, he stole it right back. Johnny Gaudreau proved why he's NHL material at 5'9" and 157 lbs. He took a shot on net after undressing the Blackhawks defense, but, when Seabrook picked up the rebound, Johnny took it away from him like taking candy from a baby, and netted the game winning goal for the Flames in overtime.
David Jones and Mason Raymond both had a face-off percentage of 100% while Karri Ramo had a save percentage of .947.
Flame Of The Game
TJ Brodie. With a few chances on net and his great skating skills, he was a force to be reckoned with throughout the game. The first period was great defensively, the second was his strongest offensive effort, and he just wouldn't quit heading into the third period and overtime. With 31:43 worth of ice time, Brodie rocked the game and made a case for himself as a stealthy blue liner. I think Brodie is severely underrated by other teams because I saw him alone, no need to fight for space on the ice, and he utilized his position to its highest potential. With 1 shot on net and 3 blocked shots, Brodie impressed me with his plays in both the offensive and defensive zones earning him my Flame Of The Game.
The Flames will be taking another road trip this up-coming week as they head to Anaheim, Arizona, and San Jose.
Go Flames Go!