WOW! I don’t even know how to recap the amazing hockey game we just witnessed.
There were plenty of storylines coming into tonight’s contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames, but the biggest had to be the winning streaks that both teams had.
Calgary came in riding their well-publicized nine game streak, while the Pens had a five-gamer of their own.
With a win tonight the Flames could match the Atlanta Flames franchise record of ten straight wins back in 1978-79. Coincidentally that Atlanta Flames team also got the tenth win of their streak against Pittsburgh.
Brian Elliott got another start in net for the Flames, while Marc-Andre Fleury countered for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins came out with all the jump to start and capitalized early to make it 1-0.
The Flames were unable to clear the puck at the blue line, and as a result the puck found it’s way behind the net and then Conor Sheary would find some space in front to deposit a one-timer.
Calgary would find their legs shortly after and put together a string of solid shifts in the offensive zone.
After wearing the Pens down it would be the fourth line that became unlike heroes. With Alex Chiasson, Lance Bouma, and Matt Stajan causing havoc on the ice, Deryk Engelland would find the puck and throw it in front. The puck would deflect off a Penguin stick past Fleury to make it 1-1.
The goal was originally credited to Stajan but later given to Engelland. It was Engelland’s fourth goal of the year and it spawned this gem of a tweet.
Stajan from Engelland and Chiasson. If you just got three points in your hockey pool, you're in last place in your hockey pool.— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) March 14, 2017
Before the end of the period Evgeni Malkin would drive to net and finish a nice passing play to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
After one period the score was 2-1 Pittsburgh and shots were 12-10 for the Pens.
Dennis Wideman, you’re off the hook. For now.
Calgary would open the second period by tying the game with Wideman’s shot pinballing around and finding it’s way into the net. Wideman actually had a pretty solid game tonight as a whole.
The rest of the second period would feature no goals, but some of the best hockey I’ve seen in a long time as both teams would get glorious chances but be robbed by the respective goaltenders. It truly was a great night for hockey at the Dome!
Shots after two periods were 24-17 for Pittsburgh with the score tied at 2.
Calgary would get their first lead of the hockey game when Johnny Gaudreau did Johnny Gaudreau things. Gaudreau would do five different moves to five different Penguins and get around them all to get the wraparound goal.
It started with him outskating one Penguin coming into the zone, making a perfect dangle around another after entering, skating around a sliding Penguin, tricking Fleury with the wraparound, and fighting through the last Penguin stick that tried to stop him.
It was beautiful and if you haven’t seen it, don’t worry it’ll be on quite a few highlight packages this year.
The Flames would then shut down the Penguins for most of the period with a lot of strong defensive hockey.
But the Penguins are the Penguins and you know they wouldn’t go quietly. With about three minutes to go, Sheary would take a shot and Crosby would get a stick on it to knock the puck into the net. The Flames would challenge as Crosby’s stick hit Elliott but the refs didn’t agree.
Nevertheless, overtime was coming as the Flames extended their point streak to 12 games but wanted to extend their win streak still.
Pittsburgh would get the first good scoring chance of overtime but Elliott would shut the door with a great save.
Michael Frolik would then get sprung on a breakaway but be unable to settle the puck to get a good shot off.
Then we’d get some drama as Mark Giordano would be whistled for a penalty about half through the overtime to give the Penguins a two minute 4-on-3.
And truth be told I think every Flames fan watching that kill was having a heart attack, but they found a way to kill it off and get out of the period still tied.
PIT - Evgeni Malkin (Save)
CGY - Kris Versteeg (Goal)
PIT - Sidney Crosby (Save)
CGY - Sean Monahan (Save)
PIT - Phil Kessel (Save)
Just like that, the Flames would emerge victorious with Elliott stopping three all-star shooters on the Penguins and Kris Versteeg making a nasty move.
- Dennis Wideman. I think this is the first time he’s been on this list all year. Was he a game-changer, not really. But he did his job, and as a bottom pairing defender, all you ask of him is that he plays good enough defense to keep the puck out and give the top guys a rest. Also had the top CF% of any Flame tonight.
- Alex Chiasson and the Fourth Line. I thought Chiasson played one of the best games of the year for him. He seemed to really be engaged and making a difference out there, perhaps it’s because there’s less pressure on him.
- Brian Elliott. Let in three goals but can’t be really faulted for any and made so many amazing saves tonight! Also got a tripping penalty because he’s a goon.
- Everybody Else
- Calgary started slowly again and that has to be slightly worrying. But they found a way to win their 18th game when falling behind 1-0.
- The 3M line had a tough night, but I don’t think it was there fault as they were consistently paired against Pittsburgh’s top players. They’ll bounce back.
- Can’t think of anything ugly from tonight’s game as we got to witness an amazing contest between two really good teams!
The Flames have won 10(!!!) in a row and have bumped their record up to 39-26-4 and again in sole possession of second in the Pacific Division!
Calgary can set a brand new franchise record as they shoot for 11 wins on Wednesday when the Boston Bruins come to town! Puck drop is at 7:00PM MT.