A familiar face returned to the Saddledome as Brian Elliott was in net for the Philadelphia Flyers as they took on the Flames to close out the home stand. Dave Hakstol's Flyers came in on a ten game losing streak and Flames fans hoped that Elliot would have another less than stellar performance. Mark Giordano was hoping for a win as he played in his 700th career NHL game.
The Flames opened up the first with some quick shots on goal against their former teammate Brian Elliot, but were unsuccessful. The Flyers got the first powerplay of the game 8:39 in after Michael Stone got called for holding.
The Flames penalty kill has been subject to much debate this year, but once again they killed the penalty off holding Philly to just one shot. The rest of the period was uneventful with the teams trading turnovers and many blocked shots.
Troy Brouwer finally got the scoring underway in the final two minutes of the period with a wrist shot from Curtis Lazar and Mark Giordano.
It looked like Flames had the momentum going into the intermission, but that got taken away right in the last minute as Valtteri Filppula put one right past Mike Smith. The game would go into the intermission tied at one, with Calgary having a good advantage in the shot category.
Shots, shots, shots! If the Flames had a theme of the period, then that would be it. The second period saw the Flames peppering the net (except on the powerplay, more on that later), but not being able to get more than one past Elliot, and not capitalizing on chances meant this would be a rather dull period for Calgary.
Sean Monahan netted his fifteenth of the year at 18:45 to end a rather disappointing period. The rest of the time was spent generating opportunities but coming up empty. There isn't really much else to say on what was rather a lackluster period from the team. The powerplay looked horrible, getting a maximum of two shots on goal in both attempts.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Raffl, and Wayne Simmons scored Philly's three goals all within 1:11 of each other and the Flyers took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission, much to the surprise of the C of Red. The Flames ended the period with fifteen chances compared to four for the Flyers. The Flames were also outshooting Philly 35-15.
As the teams came out of the locker rooms, the crowd at the Saddledome was hoping to see a hot start, and perhaps an early goal. The fans did see an early goal, but from the wrong side. Scott Laughton scored his third of the year to put the Flyers up 5-2.
The next play of the game is one that will discussed in the following days. Travis Hamonic received a match penalty for contact to the head against NHL veteran Dale Weiss. Upon review it appears there wasn't much contact to the head, but nevertheless Hamonic was gone for the rest of the evening.
There will be plenty of debate in the next day or two between fans, media personalities, and players about whether or not the penalty was worth a match penalty, but it is worth noting that the loss of Hamonic didn't change the outcome of the game.
The final seconds of the third period ticked down, and what was left of the crowd at the Saddledome jeered and booed as the horn sounded. Despite the Flames outshooting the Flyers 45-21, Philadelphia led where it mattered, 5 goals to 2.
After a brilliant shutout five days ago, Mike Smith struggled for the second straight game. He didn't struggle the whole game, but the 1:11 span where the Flyers scored three times made both him and the Flame's defense look incredibly poor. The powerplay was also looking incredibly poor.
On the other side Troy Brouwer scored his first goal in the Saddledome since March, and the third line was probably the most impressive of the Flames lines tonight.
The Flyers snapped a ten game losing streak, and the Flames ended a four game homestand with a record of 1-3-0. Dave Hakstol, the coach of the Flyers and former coach of my alma mater, the University of North Dakota, had been on the hot seat as of late with many suggesting it was time for change.
Throughout the course of the game, the coach getting attention was not Hakstol, but rather Flames coach Glen Gulutzan. Thanks to today's social media, #FireGulutzan started trending on various sites, and Flames fans are certainly voicing their displeasure for what they saw during this homestand.
Credit also needs to be given to Brian Elliot for stopping 43 of 45 shots that came his way and earning an impressive win in his return to Calgary after a disappointing campaign last year with the Flames.
Flame of the Game
I'm going to give the award out to the third line of Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski, and Jaromir Jagr. Bennett extends his points streak to four games, and out of all the offense tonight, the third line was the highest performing.