Wow, lineup changes! This time Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie were the ones to talk about as they were split up to start the game. Giordano was paired with Deryk Engelland and Brodie was paired with Dougie Hamilton. Joni Ortio was in net to start this battle.
With a mere 30 seconds gone on the clock, my heart dropped into my stomach as the Penguins opened the scoring. But Joe Colborne answered back quickly to tie the game 1-1. Lance Bouma was fired up today, playing his typically physical game, which paid off later on the third period. Mikael Backlund also had a fire under his butt as he played hard, handled the puck like the pro that he is, and owned his space on the ice. The score was even to end the first 20 minutes.
Just when I was expecting the Flames to fall apart in the middle frame, they pleasantly surprised me with more energetic, physical play. Garnet Hathaway was a force on the forecheck and Jakub Nakladal was solid on the blue line. With a small slip in the Flames pressure, the Penguins took advantage and put themselves ahead 2-1. But the Flames answered back again when Giordano slammed one home to tie the game 2-2. Nakladal would leave the game soon after when he was hit with a high stick in the jaw and then again under the visor that hit him in the eye area. It took a while for him to get up from the ice and he was helped down the tunnel, not to return. The Flames decided that was unacceptable, but instead of letting it affect them in the wrong way, Dougie made a perfect pass to Backlund in front of the net and the Flames were up 3-2 after 40 minutes.
With Nakladal absent from the bench, the Flames soldiered on. Even though the Penguins put a lot of pressure on the net, the Flames defense wouldn't let them through. When the Penguins faltered, not playing their men in front of the net, Bouma banged one home and finalized the score at 4-2 for the visiting team. The Flames won, snapping their 7 game losing streak and going home with a win under their belt during the road trip.
Flame Of The Game
Joni Ortio. After making 29 saves on 31 shots, he earned a win that's been much needed since he was called up to replace Karri Ramo who was hurt. Ortio gave his all in net today and it was obvious he was hungry for a win. He stood solid, laying it all out there on the ice with his quick reflexes and smart plays. Even though Bouma got the fire helmet after today's game, Joni Ortio is still my Flame Of The Game.
Nakladal seems to be alright in spite of his injury and there doesn't seem to be too much damage. Hartley has said he should be good to play in the next couple of days.
"There's blood in the eye but there's no serious damage. We think he should be good to go in the next couple of days." - Hartley on Nakladal— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) 5 March 2016