The Flames scored first, Brian Elliott was huge, Sean Monahan scored a beautiful goal, Johnny Gaudreau scored the overtime winner and the Flames snapped a 4 game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
The 3M line was no more. One of the best lines in the NHL all season long, the trio of Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik were split up for this game, in an effort to try and boost the rest of the struggling team. Michael Frolik was moved to play with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, while Alex Chiasson (woo....) was moved to play with Tkachuk and Backlund. After trading terrible starts with Chad Johnson to start this road trip, Brian Elliott was back in net for the Flames. Most importantly: could they score first?
They almost gave up the first goal midway through the first, as a great pass from Erik Karlsson to Kyle Turris sent him in on a breakaway, but a big save by Elliott kept the score deadlocked at zero. Michael Frolik took a high-sticking double minor with 2:54 left in the first, setting up a huge penalty kill for the Flames with one of their best penalty killers in the box. The Flames would do a solid job on the PK for the first stretch of the penalty and the score would be tied at zero after the first.
The Flames looked like a respectable team and did not concede much, but also did not generate anything too significant either. Baby steps though. Shot attempts were 16-5 for Calgary at even strength. Have to hit the net though, as the shots were 6-6 in the first.
The Flames had a good start to the second in that they completed the kill of the Frolik penalty. After that, it was a pretty quiet period until a beautiful miracle occurred. Matt Stajan dropped a pass to Micheal Ferland who fired a shot and was stopped, but he picked up his rebound and put it past Mike Condon to put the Flames up 1-0 for the first time in 10 games. Not just that, it was apparently their first lead in quite some time.
For the first time in 269:39 of action, #Flames have a lead. Micheal Ferland buries his own rebound.— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) January 27, 2017
Things got even better! Johnny Gaudreau’s pass deflected to Dougie Hamilton who made a power move to the net and was stopped, but a beautiful, between the legs play by Sean Monahan in tight enabled him to flip the puck over Condon for his 16th of the season. Not even just a 1-0 lead, but now a 2-0 lead which is a big deal for this Calgary team. What a goal.
A solid second period, where things actually went the Flames way, led to a 2-0 lead after two periods. They also led the shot clock 16-13.
The Senators would get on the board early in the third, with Tommy Wingels deflecting the puck past Brian Elliott to cut the Calgary lead to one. Something had finally gone wrong for the Flames, so how would they respond?
With a very quiet third period. The Flames played a really solid road game, creating chances, making smart plays and not giving up much at all. Unfortunately they just could not hold on, as the Senators tied the game with 1:02 left in the third period, because that is just how it goes these days. A Chris Wideman shot was blasted past Elliott with the Senators having the extra attacker.
They were so close to escaping with a regulation win, but they could not hold on. Off to 3-on-3 with the score tied at 2. Shots were 24-22 for Calgary in regulation.
Brian Elliott was huge in overtime, making 3 game saving stops to keep the Flames in it. The Flames really did not generate much at all in the first four minutes of overtime, but then magic:
Johnny Gaudreau forced a Karlsson turnover with a diving play, leading him and Backlund to go in on a 2-on-0, where they passed back and forth a dizzying amount of times before Gaudreau fired the puck into the empty net, busting his goal drought and snapping the Flames losing streak. BIG.
Flames 3 Stars
- Brian Elliott: He saved the game multiple times in overtime and had a number of good saves throughout regulation play. That is the Moose we were promised, please go on a run Moose, please.
- Johnny Gaudreau: He was buzzing today, it looked like he was going to be stymied again, but he won the game on a terrific play, ending his goal drought. He finished with a goal and an assist. He also controlled 73.9% of shot-attempts at even strength, second only to Sean Monahan.
- Sean Monahan: Speaking of Monahan, how about that goal. Beautiful. 75% of shot-attempts in his favour. Great game.
- Michael Frolik has been one of the best Flames all season long, but it would be beneficial if he stopped his recent habit of taking penalties.
- The Gaudreau-Monahan-Frolik line was dominant at even-strength, so we will likely see this experiment continuing past the all star break. If it continues like it did tonight, that is fine by me.
- The Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton pairing is gold.
- Not a big fan of Chiasson with Backlund and Tkachuk. He has no finish, I don’t think that the skilled players on the Flames should constantly be saddled with a guy that cannot keep up offensively. I know their right-wing depth is terrible but maybe someone should be called up because Chiasson should be on the fourth line.
- Why does the Backlund unit never start on powerplays? The Monahan unit has really struggled to generate offense and get on the scoreboard lately, but the Backlund unit creates more opportunities and ends up on the scoresheet more often. This has been going on for awhile but nothing has changed.
- That game from Brian Elliott was huge. One of the goalies needs to step up, I don’t care who. Hopefully Elliott can leverage this game into going on a run for the team.
It’s the all-star break. Johnny Gaudreau is off to Los Angeles and the rest of the team gets some time to rest. The Flames have played a lot of hockey this season, so a rest should be beneficial. They have to come out hot when they are back. Their next game is Wednesday at home against the Minnesota Wild.