The Flames returned home from their Eastern Conference road trip for a date against the youthful Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The Flames went 3-2-1 on the trip, but lost the last two games of the trip.
The Leafs entered the game having beaten Edmonton last night 4-2. Calgary and Toronto split their season series last season with the home team winning both games. The Flames are 9-1 in their last 10 games on home ice against Toronto.
Tonight also featured an intriguing rookie battle as former London Knight teammates Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkachuk squared off.
Chad Johnson got the start for the Flames in net tonight and Jhonas Enroth countered for Toronto.
The Flames would get onto the board only 19 seconds into the game when the Flames fourth line forced a turnover and Freddie Hamilton scored his first of the season. Ferland gets an assist on the goal and it’s 1-0 Flames very early.
Calgary would make it 2-0 only 30 seconds later when Kris Versteeg would bury a Sean Monahan rebound. The Flames are up two only 49 seconds into the game!!! Michael Frolik would hit a post only seconds later as the Flames were on fire early.
The Flames scored two goals in the first minute of the game for the first time since March of 1987 against the Hartford Whalers(!!!).
Chad Johnson would be tested a few times by the Leafs as Toronto tried to work their way back into the game but were stoned.
The Flames would be given a powerplay after a Leafs roughing penalty during a scrum. Time to see what the league’s worst home powerplay can do. The Flames would generate a whole lot of nothing.
Seconds after the penalty expired though Matt Stajan would make it 3-0 by deflecting a beautiful pass from Frolik into the net past Enroth.
Dougie Hamilton would be whistled for holding on a Tyler Bozak breakway to send the Leafs to their first powerplay of the game. The Flames would kill off the penalty with some great defensive play along with some strong saves by Johnson.
The opening period ends with the Flames ahead of the Maple Leafs 3-0 despite actually being outshot 12-10.
Both teams came out of the gates in the second with some edge to their game. Both teams would get some scoring opportunities but the Flames would control the shot clock, outshooting the Leafs 9-3 at one point in the period.
The Flames would be given a powerplay when Zaitsev would be whistled for hooking in front of his own net. Another shot for the powerplay.
Kris Versteeg would then take a holding penalty on Leo Komarov to give the Leafs the powerplay late in the period.
The Flames would get the kill but not without Johnson making a couple stellar saves and a lot of Leaf opportunities.
After two periods, the Flames remain ahead 3-0 but the Leafs continue to outshoot Calgary 25-23.
The best chance of the period would be when prolific Leaf rookie Mitch Marner would be sent in on a breakaway but Johnson would make the save with his glove.
The focus of the period for Calgary would mainly be limiting Toronto scoring chances as the Leafs racked up a lot of shots but not a lot of high quality opportunities.
The game would end with Chad Johnson getting another shutout and the Flames winning 3-0. Johnson made 14 saves in the period and 39 total in the game as the Leafs outshot the Flames 39-29.
- Chad Johnson with ANOTHER outstanding performance getting his third shutout of the season
- Great start out of the gate to get a couple goals after the team had been struggling to score
- Stellar shutdown play defensively by the Flames for the third period to limit Leaf chances
- Sat back for a chunk of the game but Johnson bailed the team out when needed
- All those darn Leaf jerseys at the Saddledome!!!
The Flames get the win to move their record up to 11-13-2. Calgary is now 6-3-1 since the game where Johnny Gaudreau got injured. The Flames also finish a busy month of November with a 7-8-1 record, but considering it was 1-5 at one point, a very solid turnaround.
The Flames are now only one point back of a playoff spot (other teams have games in hand but whatever, let’s enjoy this).
Calgary’s next game is on Friday night against the Minnesota Wild with puck drop at 7PM MT. Perhaps time for some retribution after Johnny’s injury?