Calgary Flames 4 Florida Panthers 2
The Flames are surging as of late and they ran into old friend Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers Friday night. Luongo has to hate seeing the Flames come to town.
Chad Johnson got the start tonight and he was tested early in the first. Johnson looked fairly comfortable and then the Panthers went on the PP. In the final minute of the man advantage Jussi Jokinen fed Nick Bjugstad and he buried a one timer past Chad Johnson to put the Panthers up 1-0. That lead was short lived as the Flames came roaring back. Sam Bennett, yes, Sam Bennett, would get the equalizer after some great hustle by Kris Versteeg to keep the puck in the end. The goal was Bennett’s first in 10 games. Calgary would continue to pile it on as the 3M Line would connect and put the Flames up 2-1. Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk fed Mikael Backlund for his 19th of the season. Deryk Engelland would put the Flames up 3-1 when he would start the rush and finish it by collecting a loose puck in the crease and tucking it in past Roberto Luongo after he misplayed the puck. Had enough scoring? No you didn’t. With just under 3 minutes left in the 1st, the Flames defence would get soft and Alexander Barkov would beat Chad Johnson to get the Panthers within 1 at 3-2.
Whew. That period was liking watching the game in fast forward. The action was up and down with hardly any whistles and Chad Johnson was the star of the period. For a guy who hasn’t started since February 13th, he looked extremely sharp in the period, stopping all 17 shots he faced. Calgary would get the only goal of the period as the unlikely trio of Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma and Troy Brouwer got the Flames their 4th of the night. Bouma brought the puck into the zone, fed Matt Stajan who delivered a GORGEOUS pass to Troy Brouwer, who did not miss, getting his 10th of the season.
The 3rd was much more subdued as opposed to the the first two periods of this contest. Chad Johnson was the star of the period as he came in cold having not played in a while and he played spectacularly. Johnson would stop 36 of 38 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period. Calgary would be out shot 14-11 in the period, but neither team could find the back of the net and the Flames would take the contest 4-2.
Calgary is now 8-2-1 in their last 11 and they are fighting through any and all adversity. Thankfully for the Flames this was the final back to back of the season. The Flames are still in control of their own playoff destiny and wins like tonight will further grow the confidence that this team has already.
Flame Of The Game: Sam Bennett
While Chad Johnson was a rock star tonight, Sam Bennett deserves to be the Flame of The Game. Bennett scored his first goal in 10 games tonight to tie the game and he was flying across the rink. A lot of what Bennett did in tonight’s game wasn’t sexy, but he gave the Flames some needed energy on the back end.