Back and Back in a Back To Back. The Flames welcomed injured Jaromir Jagr back, IR Travis Hamonic back, and were playing the first game in a back-to-back.
In what is sounding like a broken record that nobody wants to fix, Garnet Hathaway is unafraid to get in the dirty areas. Hathaway was able to bury one from tight net-front quarters with assists going to Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski, as the third line chemistry continues to impress. And by “tight net-front quarters”, I mean Hath was so deep up in Jones' kitchen he coulda swiped the leftover pizza from the fridge. (And if you saw the celly afterwards, you would've believed he did.)
In a slick move, Jagr-vision picks off a drop-pass from Joe Thornton. Interesting tidbit is Jagr and Thornton are1-2 in active NHL all-time scorers race (The beard vs haircut race between the two is more of a toss-up, however). Unfortunately, Murphy's Law kicked in and immediately upon Jagr carrying said interception into the zone, Matt Stajan took an interference minor and we had a tie game at the 7:16 mark thanks to a tic-tac-toe PPG by Pavelski from Thoronton and Lebanc.
Speaking of interference minors, Mikkel Boedker clips into Mike Stone with with 11:10 left, and the extra man goes back the other way. The Flames 20th ranked powerplay looked exactly like a 20th ranked powerplay and failed to capitalize. But hey, right after that Joonas Donskoi 2 minutes for tripping and they get to try this PP thing again. In a fun twist, this time it worked, and it was Michael Backlund (recently being tested on PP , in a fun attempt to fix that 20th ranked PP by adding a two-way Selke-calibre center, and in another fun twist, seems to be working) with a heckuva tip from a Tkachuk slap pass at 15:45.
First stanza ends 2-1 visitors, which I'd like to think any team in this league would take in a California road game.
Nobody put ink to the scoresheet in the second frame, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Majorly on Jagr's part, who saw 4 scoring chances not pan out (save, missed net, rolling puck, save), and it looked for awhile that Jaromir himself was hungrier for his second career goal as a Calgary Flame than the entire fanbase is. Jagr and Monahan both took penalties in the second, but largely thanks to a David Rittich (3-0-0 w/ 1.66 GAA in 3 road games heading into the evening) 10-Bell PK stop on a 2-on-1, there was no damage. There was however, damage to Michael Frolik. He took an errant puck to the face area and did not return to the game.
Joe Thornton hit the post early for SJS, but that's not to discredit David Rittich's continuing roll. Later in the third, the rookie backup dropped another Ten-Bell Save, kicking out the right pad on Jannik Hansen. A penalty to Donskoi at 8:07 put the Flames on the man advantage, with a chance to pad their lead. These attempts to pad that lead somehow managed to turn into no less than two odd-man rushes for the Sharks, luckily broken up by Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie, respectfully. This put the Flames back on their heels, and at exactly 12:00 Tyler Maiers tipped one past Rittich to knot us all up at 2.
Overtime was the usual madhouse of stuff I couldn't keep up with even if I wasn't trying to recap the game on a laptop. It, eventually, solved nothing. Which is too bad, because the Flames entered the night with a 4-1 overtime record, but a 2-2 shootout record.
Pavelski beats Rittich;
Jones stops Monahan;
Rittich stops Burns;
Jones stops Backlund;
Donskoi beats Rittich;
Sharks take two points.
The Burning Embers:
The trend continues of the Flames playing solid, close games. The results have been slightly more hit than miss as they sit one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Wild Card spot at 18-5-4 with 40 total points. They'll look to grab more than a single point tomorrow night in Anaheim, facing off against the Ducks with the Honda Centre Curse finally behind them.