1st Period: Calgary Flames 0, Washington Capitals 0
Straight from puck drop, the Calgary Flames pushed well. They spent good time in the Capitals zone, and had the shot advantage over a team known for its high-octane offense. The first and second line looked very good out there and the passing was crisp. The Flames would manage to register a number of chances at scoring but failed to capitalize on the. The Capitals would reciprocate in some instances, but Mike Smith stood strong and continued to prove his skeptics wrong.
Overall, the Flames played a good first period, but did run into penalty troubles, with Micheal Ferland and Kris Versteeg spending time in sin bin.
1st Period Stats
2nd Period: Calgary Flames 1, Washington Capitals 0
Momentum from the first definitely continued into the second period. The Flames looked a little bit flat in the early stages of the period, but rebounded to kill off the remaining part of the Capitals powerplay. Shortly after, Micheal Ferland tipped in a Brett Kulak shot to make it 1-0 for the Flames.
The third and fourth lines were much more noticeable this period by setting up plays and getting shots on net. Mark Jankowski looked good and Sam Bennett certainly had chances. The team was much more disciplined in the second stanza as well. Passing looked crisp and the Flames got good shots on net. Overall, another great stanza.
2nd Period Stats
3rd Period: Calgary Flames 2, Washington Capitals 1
The third was much more evenly matched, but the most exciting part of the game, just by virtue of being the last stanza in a close game. Both sides traded chances, until a clearing attempt by T.J Brodie took an unfortunate bounce off the linesman. T.J Oshie would capitalize on that, feeding Jakub Vrana who squirted the puck through Mike Smith to tie the game at 1. However, the Flames would try to regain momentum when Johnny Gaudreau fed a Mark Giordano snap shot, only to be foiled by Philipp Grubauer. After that stop, you’d have thought that the game could go anywhere. But credit to the Flames for being unrelenting and staying consistent. Once again, they would get an odd-man rush and this time, Sean Monahan would capitalize on a beautiful feed from Johnny Gaudreau to make it 2-1 Flames.
The Capitals would attempt a late push for the tying goal, but would get held down by a late ‘too many men’ penalty, essentially giving the Flames 2 free minutes of zone time. However, that would not stop the Capitals from trying to equalize, as Mike Smith had to stand strong on a last second tip off of a Nick Backstrom shot. Much to the relief of Flames fans and Flames players, time expired and the two game slump was brought to a close.
3rd Period Stats
There was a lot to like about tonight’s game. The Flames not only won, but they looked like a cohesive team. They played a good defensive game against a speedy Capitals offense, made crisp passes and looked much more confident on home ice, which is crucial in the rest of the homestand. Overall, this was by far one of the best games I’ve seen this team play. It was a strong start and a strong finish.
Most of all, this game was a great rebound after a two game slump, especially given how close the game was against Dallas. This is a good win for the Flames and should be a good confidence booster for a team that has not performed up to standards on home ice.
I really liked Brett Kulak’s game tonight. He looked very confident on the third pairing, was strong on the puck, and most of all, got his first point of the season. He showed the poise, grit and maturity of an NHLer, so here’s hoping that he can cement a regular spot on the Flames defence.
Flame of the Game
As much as I’d like to say Brett Kulak, Johnny Gaudreau was phenomenal tonight. He looked speedy, smart and notched 2 crucial assists tonight. He got shots on net, created scoring chances and played like the Johnny Gaudreau that Flames fans are so fond of. Great game from #13 as he continues to put up points for Calgary.