The Flames hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. After winning last night in the Saddledome, the Flames needed another win to keep the momentum going. With Pittsburgh coming off a two-game stretch, the home team needed to capitalize and they did.
Lance Bouma, Michael Ferland, and Jonas Hiller were still out of the line-up tonight with injuries. Karri Ramo started in net while Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland defended the blue line and Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, and Michael Frolik started up front.
Forget the fact that this game started out with two Flames power plays, forget that Sid ended up in the box on a questionable call, and forget what you've seen from the Flames so far this season because Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sam Bennett HAVE ARRIVED. After Joe Colborne scored during the second power play when Crosby got sent to the sin bin, Monahan and Gaudreau stepped up with a beautiful tic-tac-toe play to score the Flames second goal of the night. A few seconds later, and possibly feeling a little left out, Sam Bennett showed up, stole the puck in the Flames zone, skated end to end, undressed the Penguins defense, and scored the Flames third goal in the first 20 minutes of play. *deep breath*
Mikael Backlund 5 points in 2 games. Think it might have something to do with that Bennett guy— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) November 8, 2015
One last thing to point out, after the first period of this game, Backlund had 5 points in 2 games according to Roger Millions, which goes to prove that line-mates really do matter. The first period ended with a score of 3-1 for the Flames.
So T.J. Brodie tried to make up for his less-than-amazing first period by trying to out-smart Fleury during a shot on net, but Fleury still robbed him of a goal. Karri Ramo stopped everything the Penguins threw at him in retaliation. The net minder looked focused and controlled most rebounds during the middle frame. Those are the moments when I understand the Ramo fans. But something inside me was still waiting for a softie to go in. The pressure was mostly from the home team during the second period, interspersed with Pens pressure once in a while. The young guns showed up again as Dougie Hamilton started a play that ended with Johnny batting the puck from the air and Monahan burying it in the back of the Pittsburgh net. 4-1 Flames. But the Penguins got one back during a Flames penalty kill when Bennett got nabbed for interference. The period ended 4-2 in favour of Calgary.
The third period was all about the back and forth play. The Penguins started out strong, but the Flames fought back. Back and forth it went for the entire period, until the last few minutes of the game when all the magic happened. The pressure had built up for 15 minutes until the Flames started to look a little incoherent. Right when they could have lost it all, they came back to score an empty net goal and finalize the score at 5-2 in spite of the penalty to Mark Giordano for holding.
We, as fans, wanted the team to step up and put some heart and soul onto the ice and that's exactly what they did tonight. Almost every player worked harder, put in more effort, and didn't give up even in the dying moments of the game. This is the Never Quit Flames that we remember from last season and I hope this kind of play perpetuates throughout the rest of the season.
Flame Of The Game
Karri Ramo. Everyone seems to know that I'm not the biggest fan of Ramo and it didn't hurt my feelings at all when he was sent down to the AHL recently, but I give him a lot of credit for tonight's game. I usually complain that his rebound control isn't the best - well, he proved me wrong tonight. Other than the first couple of shots from the Penguins in the first period, Ramo took every possible rebound chance away from the visitors. He stood tall, protected his net, and helped the Flames gain another much needed victory at home. 23 saves on 25 shots and a save percentage of .920 was enough to impress me.
Calgary has another two-day break on Sunday and Monday. They return to the ice on Tuesday, November 10th when they visit Florida to take on the Panthers.
Go Flames Go!