The Calgary Flames hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at the Saddledome tonight in the first of a two-game stint at home to end this week. With Jonas Hiller still out because of an injury, Karri Ramo stepped into net while Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie manned the blue line and Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, and Jiri Hudler started up front.
Again, the Flames started the game with Mark Giordano ringing one off the Flyers post to give the fans hope. But, like the typical roller coaster that we're getting used to, Josh Jooris took a holding penalty after taking down one of the Philadelphia players behind the net. The ride didn't stop there as Jooris scored the first goal of the game right after he returned to the ice. The rest of the period looked messy and inconsistent on both sides, but the Flames ended the first 20 minutes up by one.
Let's talk about Joe Colborne and his 2 on 1 in the first period for a moment. Put yourself in his skates. He had a fraction of a second to decide whether to shoot the puck or pass it. The chances of him being a hero in either situation was slim to none considering that the Flyers needed a win as much as the Flames did and Neuvirth did very well in net tonight. If I had to guess, I'd say Joe didn't feel as though he could make the shot so he decided to pass the puck instead. No, there was no goal, but he made the best decision he could at the time. Was it a mistake? Maybe. Should he have shot the puck instead of pass it? Maybe. But, honestly, I sometimes feel like public opinion would verbally slay Colborne (or almost any other player right now) regardless of what he did or did not do. Here's one thing that you can't deny about Joe Colborne - in spite of his decisions and whether or not they're the right ones, he's got heart and he's got a lot more confidence than he used to. He does what he thinks is best for the team and he's not a greedy player by wanting all the attention for himself. He's a team player. I'm comparing the Colborne now to the Colborne that I remember when he was first traded to the Flames. I haven't looked at any stats, but, by just watching him, he's come a long way. And I believe he will only get better with time because he's still relatively young.
Onto the second period. In spite of shot after shot on net that the Flames came up with, Brodie getting a puck whistled dead even though he hand-passed to himself, and Johnny showing off his sick mitts again, it wasn't the most exciting period of hockey - oh, except at the end of the period, for Flyers fans, when the Flames let in a weak goal to tie the game at 1-1. Admittedly, it was the only weak goal that Ramo let in, and he made 26 saves on 27 shots all night.
With another mediocre period, the Flames looked emotionless in the third as they gave up on the pressure in the offensive zone and failed to create any plays that amounted to much. Bob Hartley was playing with the lines again and it looked to me as though Colborne may have been double-shifting. At the end of the period, all the pressure came from the Flyers in the Flames zone, but Ramo stood tall in spite of how hungry the Philadelphia team was. Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik gave one last push to get something going, but they ran out of time as the buzzer went to end regulation.
And with overtime ticking down, Johnny Gaudreau took a shot, Backlund picked up the rebound, and the Flames took the victory, thus ending what could have been another potential losing streak. It was a much needed win as Johnny Gaudreau took control of the play with his slick hands and proved that the Flames are still in this.
Flame of the game
Josh Jooris because of his one goal and because he brings it each and every night. He never stops putting his heart and soul on the ice and playing as hard as he can to maintain his position on the roster. He's an impact player that can be counted on even in the toughest of times.
The Flames host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night in what is sure to be another roller coaster ride!
Go Flames Go!