The Calgary Flames visited the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, looking to take away what should have been an easy two points. The starting lineup included Karri Ramo in net, Kris Russell and Dougie Hamilton on defense, and Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, and Michael Frolik up front.
The first period was not good to either team as they were both prone to too many turnovers and inconsistent play. The defense had been coughing up the puck in their own end which led to chances on net for the opposition. On the positive side, Joe Colborne finished his forechecks and seems to be gaining that much-needed confidence that's been lacking. Sam Bennet, Markus Granlund, and Michael Frolik were the best offensive players this period. And I didn't hear anything about Torts making his way into the Flames dressing room. Well, not yet anyway. There was still two periods of hockey to play and plenty of time for him to exchange words with Bob Hartley.
This period started out much better for the visiting team with a few chances on net and some energy that was badly needed in the first period. The Flames took a lot more shots and skated hard. Michael Ferland got accidentally run over by a Blue Jackets player that sent him down the tunnel, not to return for the rest of the game. It was not a good situation. Jiri Hudler was moved onto the first line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau which resulted in more chances on net. In spite of the Flames playing smarter, faster, and more focused hockey this period, the Blue Jackets tied the game in the beginning of the frame, but Sam Bennett got the go-ahead goal not long afterwards. With barely two minutes left in the period, Columbus tied it again and the score was 2-2 going into the 3rd.
Johnny Gaudreau was having none of it as he opened the final period with a goal, putting the Flames up again. With that goal, Gaudreau earned his 20th goal of the season and T.J. Brodie earned his 100th assist. Congrats to both guys! Soon after, Joe Colborne showed us what we've been missing as he took a pass from Russell that led to a spin-o-rama shot on net. It was a lot from Joe that we haven't seen in a while even though he didn't capitalize on the play. Karri Ramo made key plays in the period as he stood solid in net and stopped everything that came at him. He also made a sweet long pass to Sam Bennett who attempted to carry it past two defensemen at the other end, but was stopped. The Flames pressure didn't quit as Backlund, Russell, and Bennett all took shots on the Columbus net in the same play. Bennett notched another goal and put the Flames up by 2 goal to give them the win. Final score, 4-2 for the Calgary Flames!
Flame Of The Game
Sam Bennett. With 8 goals in 5 games, Bennett has finally got out of the slump that plagued him before the holidays. Not only has he finally jumped that hurdle, but he's done it in style. Tonight, he ended up with a +3 rating in over 16 minutes of ice time. He plays hard and is always one of the most consistent players on the team, giving 110% effort every shift in every game.
The Calgary Flames get yet another two-day break before they head to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Sunday night.