The lineup drama just doesn't end. With more last-minute decisions, Lance Bouma slotted in tonight while Josh Jooris, Brandon Bollig, and Ladislav Smid were scratched. Karri Ramo started in net and the Flames took on the Jets in what they hoped to be their 10th consecutive home win.
The Flames came out flying, specifically Lance Bouma. Bouma, who slotted back into the lineup last minute, has missed 30 games because of a broken fibula. The Flames owned the first period as Lance smashed a Jets player into the boards on his first shift as if to say, "I'm baaaaaack!" Calgary got their first powerplay and Johnny Gaudreau notched his 100th point to put the Flames on the board. The Flames pushed hard and it paid off as Joe Colborne capitalized to put the home team up by two goals. With under 5 seconds left in the period, the Jets had a 3 on 1 blast which broke the shutout. The score after 20 minutes was 2-1 for the Flames.
The second period hasn't been good to Calgary this season and this game was no exception. They looked confused to start and it continued to plague them throughout the middle period. The Jets put on a lot of pressure, but Ramo saved the period. Mason Raymond had a breakaway chance but waited too long to shoot the puck and couldn't bury it. When Colborne took a penalty for tripping, Markus Granlund had a short-handed chance on the Jets net. Hutchinson initially stopped the puck but it trickled through his legs and laid in the blue paint, taunting the Flames until the Jets defense burst the bubble and cleared it before the puck could pass over the goal line. Lance, in an epic return with a smirk on his face, drew a tripping penalty and another Jets penalty led to a 5 on 3 for over a full minute, which the Flames squandered with no goals. Because of a bad giveaway by Dennis Wideman, Winnipeg had a chance on the Flames net, but Ramo, playing out of the net, hit Byfuglien into the side boards to take away that chance. The score remained the same as the team headed into the final period.
The pressure was back and forth from both teams throughout the third period, the Jets fighting back to regain control. But with a Flames powerplay, the Jets chances looked slim. What seemed to be a Winnipeg goal was reviewed after play was paused but it did not go in thanks to the quick thinking of T.J. Brodie and the powerplay soon dwindled. Bouma played hard this period, digging at the puck and making his presence known, but he just couldn't capitalize in front of the net. The visiting team seemed to be energized by the almost-goal and they pushed hard to earn it back, but Ramo wouldn't allow it. And then Johnny Magic showed up to pot an insurance goal. With less than 2 minutes left on the clock, Johnny Magic showed up one last time to prove a point by earning an empty net goal and a hat trick. The C of Red went wild as the Flames won 4-1 over the visiting Winnipeg Jets and notched their 10th win at home.
Flame Of The Game
Joe Colborne. I can see the progression of skills and competence which has been a factor in his presence on ice. He's a big body on the ice and fights for his space against the opposition. He isn't easily pushed around. He uses his long reach to get passes that others on the team may not be able to take and he uses that reach to his advantage in front of the oppositions net. He's playing with more confidence than he's ever had and he's earned 5 points in 9 games. During this game, Joe notched a goal, putting him at 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 9 games. And his average face-off percentage is at 53% in the same 9 games. In spite of the penalty called on him in the middle period, he makes good decisions and saves his team from potential goals against. For this reason, I see Joe making good progress and he keeps getting better.
The Flames have a few days off during the holidays, but they will be back on the ice at the Saddledome on Sunday, December 27th when they host the Edmonton Oilers in what is sure to be a true Battle Of Alberta.