It took a herculean effort from Mike Smith for the Flames to down the Penguins on Thursday night. Calgary wins their second in a row!
1st Period: Calgary Flames 0, Pittsburgh Penguins 0
Mike Smith, that is all. The Flames came out absolutely flat and the Penguins feasted on them for the majority of the period, but Smith weathered 19(!!) Penguin shots. Calgary had a decent pair of shifts to start, but that good ol’ fourth line got hemmed in their own zone for over a minute and from there the Penguins created a ton of momentum.
Here’s a look at just how many dangerous chances Pittsburgh had in the period (from Hockeystats.ca). They had 9 chances in or below the hashmarks in the slot. Ridiculous. Smitty gave the boys a shot with his great performance!
1st Period Stats
2nd Period: Calgary Flames 0, Pittsburgh Penguins 0
The Flames came out with a much stronger effort in the second period as they started to get some chances. Pittsburgh ended up taking three penalties in the period, with a late one to Ryan Reaves for roughing that sent Matthew Tkachuk to the locker room. He did return for the start of the third period.
Calgary’s first powerplay would feature five shots and a number of high quality chances. The second would be the opposite as the Flames couldn’t generate even one shot. At even strength it was a pretty even period with Mike Smith again making some outstanding saves.
2nd Period Stats
3rd Period: Calgary Flames 1, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
The opening portion of the period would feature a lot of tentative play between the teams before things would start to open up. Mark Jankowski would get a glorious chance with a breakaway but would be unable to fool Jarry. Pittsburgh would get some great chances including a shot that trickled through Smith but just wide.
Calgary would get a powerplay with just 4:14 to go. AND THE FLAMES WOULD SCORE!
Sean Monahan would get credit for the goal that bounced through a crowd in front and Johnny Gaudreau would get yet another assist. 1-0 Flames with four minutes to go!
Unfortunately Pittsburgh would tie the game with goalie pulled when Kris Letang’s long point shot beat Smith. Two goals in 2:55 after no scoring for the opening 55 minutes leaves the game tied at one.
We’d head to overtime tied at 1-1!
3rd Period Stats
Overtime: Calgary Flames 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Calgary would get big saves from Mike Smith early in overtime before Calgary responded. Matthew Tkachuk would make a tremendous play at the Penguins blue line and then slide the puck to Mark Giordano who would beat Jarry over the glove hand and the Flames win!!!
Mike Smith was brought into Calgary to steal games for this team. He did that tonight. He kept the team in it during a hellish opening period that saw Pittsburgh get 19 shots. He stayed strong all night long as the Flames found their legs. It takes a lot to hold the defending Cup champions to a goal, good on him.
First period aside, the Flames played a pretty good game and had plenty of chances to score but again they couldn’t bury them. The good news is that they’re finding ways to win with low offensive output, but hopefully more goals come soon. The Bennett-Jankowski-Lazar line had some good shifts tonight, but I’m really excited to see how Jagr looks in that RW spot.
Flame of the Game
Mike Smith (G): It’s not even a discussion. A tremendous showing for the Flames netminder tonight!
Next Up: The suddenly great New Jersey Devils (9-2-0) come to town on Sunday at 7:00pm