The Flames looked a little lacklustre throughout the first period, but you can't really blame the players when the lines seemed to have been pulled from a hat. Johnny Gaudreau was on a line with Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett. Mason Raymond, Sean Monahan, and Michael Frolik made up the second line while Lance Bouma, Markus Granlund, and Jiri Hudler manned the third line. As for defense, I noticed T.J. Brodie with Kris Russell, which didn't seem to work out too well. In spite of the line mix-ups tonight, some things did work out rather well. Lance looked a lot more confident and played more physical in the first period while Raymond played well against the boards and Granlund's patience proved he was thinking at the right times. Bouma and Bennett both had good chances on net, but just couldn't capitalize. With two dwindled power plays, the Flames were down 1-0 heading into the second period.
Another power play for the Flames didn't amount to much, but Lance Bouma and Brandon Bollig played hard in the middle frame. The messed-up lines from the first period seemingly went back to normal.
And then Wideman happened. To me, it looked like a blatant cross check from behind on a linesman, but, if you watch Dennis Wideman afterwards, he doesn't seem to be himself. I honestly don't know what to make of it. There's a lot of speculation going around, but allow me to show you the clip.
NHL player Dennis Wideman knocked a linesman to the ice on the way to bench (via @JayGold85) https://t.co/NMJJa54tlk https://t.co/7gjGYLL09C— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 28, 2016
I don't imagine the league will look too kindly on that hit, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. It's hard to tell a lot from such a short video, but it didn't look good at any rate. We'll keep you updated as new info is released.
Continuing in the second period, the Flames couldn't seem to stay out of the box for the rest of the period, resulting in another Predators goal. The Flames were down 2-0 going into the final 20 minutes.
Onto the third period. It was all Flames in the final 20 minutes. Mark Giordano was hungry for goals all night, but the final period he got what he wanted - a goal to break the shutout. It was in the last two minutes of the game that the Flames went full-on offensive and gave us all hope. Ramo was pulled with just under 2 minutes left in the period and then the Predators took a penalty which led to a 6 on 4 for the rest of the game. Giordano dumped it on net with 42 seconds left and a scramble in front of the net convinced me it was going in. Nope, not yet. In the last 10 seconds of the game, Gio hit the crossbar, Dougie took a shot on net, and the Flames just couldn't get it past Hutton. The Predators took the win with a score of 2-1.
Flame Of The Game
Mark Giordano. His leadership skills and the way he takes control of a bad situation makes him the perfect candidate for the Flame Of The Game. Instead of relying on others to get the job done, he did it himself with his goal in the third period. And just when I thought he'd fade to the background and allow others on the team to try their hands at getting shots on net, he was in the mix again at the end of the game, throwing rockets at the net in the Flames last attempt to tie the game in the dying seconds. With the second most time on ice at 27:20 (second only to T.J. Brodie at 28:50) and 3 shots on net, Giordano proves once again why he's such a great captain to the young Flames team.
The Flames will be taking a short break during the All Star weekend (except for Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano, of course!), but we here at M&G will be sure to update you on our two favorite players who will be making an appearance at the ASG again for another year.