"Ok, no pressure, Flames, but this one is important tonight. You've won 9 in a row at home, which is great, but tonight you have to keep it going in the first game on the road. There's a lot on the line tonight - potentially 6 consecutive wins and a perfect December record so far. But, like I said, NO PRESSURE!"
This was the pep-talk I gave to myself before the game tonight in hopes that the Flames would be able to continue their win streak. There was a lot on the line and some key players were sitting out. Lance Bouma, even though he travelled with the team, is still considered injured, while tonight's scratches were Brandon Bollig, Josh Jooris, and Ladislav Smid. I humbly pulled my jersey over my head and sat down in front of my tv to watch the game.
The first period was not good for the visiting team. Karri Ramo kept the Flames alive throughout it all and T.J. Brodie got the short end of the stick with a bad call that resulted in a penalty shot for the Predators. Nashville was up 1-0 early. The Flames defensive pairings just weren't working and there was no offence whatsoever. Luckily. the Predators had no puck luck for most of the period and the Flames were only down by one going into the second.
The second period started out much like the first, the Flames overthinking their plays, holding onto the puck too long, and looking sluggish on their skates. There wasn't a lot of energy and they couldn't even clear their own zone. Neal (not one of my favourite players) skated by Mark Giordano after the whistle and hit our captain in the head, resulting in a 5 on 3 power play for the Flames. Even though they didn't score, life was breathed back into the Calgary team and they began to play better. David Jones showed a burst of speed but lost the puck, Wideman had a streak of effort, Sam Bennett and Joe Colborne generated some offence, and Matt Stajan had a good chance at a breakaway as well as worked well against the boards. It may have helped that Bob Hartley changed up the lines again mid-game. Just as things were starting to look better, enter T.J. Brodie to steal the show again for a second game and change the momentum from mediocre to off-the-charts with a sneaky goal that tied the game 1-1.
Michael Frolik was not on the bench to start the third and I will update with any information I have in a future update. Even with Frolik gone, Calgary had a few chances on net from Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Markus Granlund, and Dennis Wideman. The Flames seemingly went back to playing their type of hockey and setting the pace of the game. Like always, Rinne wouldn't allow anything past him and stoned the visitors every chance they had.
Off to overtime...again. And are any of us really disappointed with the Flames 3 on 3 efforts this season?? I didn't think so. With a 7-1 overtime record going into tonight's extra time, the Flames did it again, earning a 8-1 record with the 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators. And, of course, who showed up but Johnny Gaudreau, the fourth period king. Johnny skated the puck up the boards with Kris Russell at his side. Gaudreau saucered the puck over Weber's stick, right on the tape of Russell's stick and with a flick of the wrist, Russell buried his 2nd goal of the season.
Flame Of The Game
Again, Karri Ramo. He didn't seem as engaged in the first period, but he came back in the second and third to keep the Flames alive at the most important moments. He was focused, tracking the puck better than I've ever seen. He flashed the glove numerous times, which tells a story about the Predators shots on net, and the net minder stole the show throughout most of the night.
The Flames travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Thursday night.