The Flames fandom was buzzing tonight before the game as Jiri Hudler left the warmup early and caused quite a stir. But he was in the lineup anyway while Josh Jooris was the healthy scratch. The starting lineup was Joni Ortio in net, Dougie Hamilton and Deryk Engelland on the blue line, and Joe Colborne, Mikael Backlund, and Michael Frolik up front.
Once again, the Flames started the game by highlighting the reflexive prowess of Joni Ortio while the Islanders peppered the net with shots. Deryk Engelland played a physical game that helped the Flames generate momentum. Lance Bouma and Brandon Bollig also played a physical game, Lance taking on Martin in response to a hit on Matt Stajan and Bollig ending up in two tilts with Martin in response to hits on Mark Giordano and Martin's poking at other Flames players. Regardless of the outcomes, the Flames got on the board first with a shot from Jiri Hudler less than 5 minutes into the game. Halak looked a little shaky and the Flames capitalized with a 1-0 lead going into the second period.
The middle frame was all Flames as they put the pressure on Halak in the Islanders net, but Halak seemed to have shaken off the nerves from the first 20 minutes. In spite of the Flames playing a good period of hockey, taking shots on net, and making smart plays to generate chances, Halak stopped everything that the home team could throw at him. The Flames set the pace the entire period, but the score remained 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.
The final 20 started with a lot of Islanders pressure, but the Flames fought back with another good chance by Hudler only to be stopped by Halak. Lance had a good shot later in the game, but Halak wouldn't allow that through either. Among all the back and forth, neither goalie would relent. The difference maker was a penalty given to Joe Colborne for tripping that led the visitors to tie the game. And with that the game went into overtime.
Off to overtime and what an exciting 5 minutes it was! The Flames came out strong, but Halak was on his game. Mark Giordano made a great play in the Flames zone to keep them alive and Joni Ortio made a glove save that impressed. I thought we had it when T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano showed patience in the Isles zone and when Gio hit the post, but it wasn't meant to be. With 17 seconds left in the period, the Flames fate was sealed when the Islanders went up top to take the game by a score of 2-1.
Flame Of The Game
Jiri Hudler. With 1 goal, 3 shots on net, and over 17 minutes on ice, Hudler stepped up and took control during his shifts all night long. He was the perfect wingman to Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan who were quite an offensive force up front. There's been a lot of speculation surrounding the potential trading of Hudler before the deadline, but tonight he definitely increased his potential trade value. He may have started out slow this year, but he seems to be back in form with his 10th goal of the season.