The Calgary Flames didn't start out well against the New Jersey Devils. Jonas Hiller looked shaky at best after the puck hit both posts but didn't go in. It wasn't long afterwards the Devils would capitalize and the score would open with the home team taking the lead. The Flames picked up the pace for a while, but ran out of steam soon after scoring their first goal to tie the game after one period. Sean Monahan scored the first goal after Dougie Hamilton tossed the puck to Johnny Gaudreau behind the net, and then Johnny sent it right to Monahan in a great play that resulted in a goal. Markus Granlund's power of persuasion shined when he drew a tripping penalty on the Devils, which is when the visiting team scored. Michael Frolik played a great period of defensive hockey while maintaining his offensive push as well.
Two words; not good. That's all I can say about that period. The Devils fought for two quick goals to start the period and, even though Bob Hartley challenged the second goal due to goalie interference (it was!), the goal was good (it shouldn't have been!) and the Devils took a 3-1 lead. The Flames would come back with a goal by Kris Russell to reduce the gap and end the period 3-2 for the home team.
For as much as I want to say the Flames did it, they came back to win it in the end, I can't. Again, the Flames showed some third period pressure, but it just wasn't enough to win the game and the two quick goals from the second period bit them in the butt and lost 4-2 after the New Jersey Devils notched an empty net goal. That's not to say they didn't have it in them. Schneider is a good goalie and had been a brick wall in the third period for the Devils. Granlund kept the pressure on the net and he should have had a goal if it wasn't for that pesky netminder. Sam Bennett played with pep in his step again tonight, never missing a beat. Whether it was the forecheck, a battle along the boards, or a good pass at the right time, Sam was there. Even Joe Colborne got a shot on net in the last couple minutes of the game, but it was rung off the post and deflected out.
Flame Of The Game
Markus Granlund. Even though his faceoff percentage was only 50, he made up for it in the pressure he displayed in front of the New Jersey net. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, but just couldn't get one past the Devils goalie. His power of persuasion worked well tonight as he drew penalties to give the visiting team an advantage that worked out in their favor. With 14:41 of ice time, he capitalized on every chance he got, earning two hits and two shots on net. And Bob Hartley even threw him on the ice for over two minutes during the penalty kill. Granlund played smart hockey and took every chance he got tonight. I really hope he doesn't get sent down to the AHL again anytime soon because I have seen a lot of progress in him so far this season.
The Calgary Flames visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, January 21st.