The Flames blew a 4-1 lead by surrendering 4 straight, but rallied back and defeated the Nashville Predators 6-5 in overtime in what was probably the craziest game of the season thus far.
A new defenseman. No Wideman. A huge game against one of the two teams battling with the Calgary Flames for the two wildcard spots in the Western Conference. Stretch drive. Exciting stuff.
46 seconds in! The new look top line clicked as Johnny Gaudreau made a beautiful chip in to himself on the zone entry and passed the puck to Micheal Ferland who wired it past Pekka Rinne for his 9th of the season to put the Flames up 1-0 early. Always nice to get the first goal in the first minute rather than the last minute.
Nashville looked to tie it up off a P.K. Subban shot midway through the frame, but the referee beside Brian Elliott immediately waved the goal off due to incidental contact by Predators forward Kevin Fiala on Calgary’s goaltender. Nashville decided to challenge because the contact was not too egregious and apparently it was a wise decision as the call was overturned and the game was tied at 1. Tough break for the Flames who looked like they had dodged a bullet.
The Flames would rebound very well though. Less than 2 minutes later, a beautiful stretch pass by Dougie Hamilton was delivered to Matthew Tkachuk, who tried to find Frolik but the puck deflected off a Predator right to leading scorer Mikael Backlund, who put it past Rinne to get the Flames back up.
The good times kept rolling. New first liner Micheal Ferland struck again, as the Flames capitalized on a turnover by James Neal. Ferland kept and shot on the ensuing 2-on-1 with Johnny Gaudreau for his second of the game and the Flames were up 3-1. First multi-goal game of Ferland’s career and the slumping Johnny Gaudreau had 2 first period assists.
It was about as ideal a first period as the Flames could hope for, entering the intermission with a 3-1 lead. Shots were 9-7 for Nashville.
The Flames kept coming in the second. Dougie “Puck Shooting Machine” Hamilton took the feed from Gaudreau and sniped one past Rinne. That was the 3rd assist (all primary) of the game for Johnny Hockey, which has to feel relieving for the guy. Hamilton’s goal chased Rinne from the net after he allowed 4 goals on 13 shots, with Juuse Saros coming in as his replacement.
The shift after Ryan Johansen shoved Stajan over in a scrum, Sam Bennett took exception to Johansen’s conduct and scrapped him, getting some good shots in on the bigger forward. Bennett cut his hand in the altercation and had to leave the game for repairs, but thankfully, he did return. Good on the kid for standing up for his teammate.
Nashville cut the lead to 2 after Saros made a number of good saves off the Flames. Filip Forsberg beat Engelland in a puck battle and got around Backlund before beating Elliott.
Shortly after, on the powerplay, a Ryan Ellis shot was deflected right in front of Elliott by Colin Wilson. Things were getting concerning as the Calgary lead was cut to 1 after being up by 3.
Then, Nashville’s Auston Watson messed with the new guy, Michael Stone so Micheal Ferland put him in his place by dropping him with a bomb of a punch. The game had taken a very physical turn in the second period.
The 3 goal lead completely dissolved with Filip Forsberg’s second of the game tying the game up at 4. Not good. And it would get even worse. A terrible turnover by T.J. Brodie to Ryan Johansen led to Forsberg’s 3rd goal of the game. A 4-1 lead turned into a 5-4 deficit in less than a period. In a very important game. Ugly.
It was 5-4 Nashville after 2, shots 20-19 for them as well.
After the Flames played fairly well throughout the period, Mikael Backlund played hero and tied the game up halfway through the frame, breaking the Saros barrier after Tkachuk made a nice play to get Backlund away with the puck. After 10 goals, the score was tied.
Elliott made a game saving stop off of Calle Jarnkrok with about 4 minutes left in the game after the Predators blew by Matt Bartkowski, but Matthew Tkachuk was called for hooking so the Flames were in a huge, late game, penalty-kill situation. Brian Elliott made another huge save on the PK to preserve the tie.
The Flames bounced back well after a crazy second period and the game was headed off to overtime with a 5-5 score.
Monahan, Gaudreau and Giordano started off overtime for the Flames and ended overtime for the Flames. They had the puck the entire time, cycled well, and then Mark Giordano’s cross-crease pass intended for Gaudreau, went off Forsberg’s foot and in the net.
It was a crazy game, they handed the Predators a point with the blown lead, but ultimately they managed to bounce back from some adversity and win.
Flames 3 Stars
- Mikael Backlund: 2 goals, including the big tying goal in the third. Was one of the best forwards at even-strength with a 60% CF.
- Micheal Ferland: First career 2 goal game, provided some physicality and just looked like a great fit with Monahan and Gaudreau. Lets keep them together for a little while.
- Johnny Gaudreau: He has definitely been slumping lately, but he set up 4 goals tonight and was buzzing. That is the Gaudreau needed down the stretch.
Honourable Mentions: Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk
- According to Ryan Leslie, multiple teams are interested in Dennis Wideman. Why would they not be, he is a terrific top-4 defender and would be a steal for a measly first round pick. Cough, cough.
- The Mike Stone Watch: Nothing noticeably good or bad for a guy who was a Coyote yesterday. No atrocious turnovers, which is really all I can ask of the guy.
- I like how often Tkachuk reverses into people. He brought a solid agitation game again today. 2 assists as well. The guy is 19.
- The whole Nashville getup is quite the eyesore.
- Crazy game for Brian Elliott but he was actually pretty good for allowing 5 goals. Some huge saves.
- What a game.
Game 3 of the 5 game road trip will be in Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Flames stay ahead of the Kings and are a point back of Nashville, but they need to keep winning.