Chad Johnson had a rough game, the Flames were not sharp against a strong Bruins team and the Flames 10 game streak of wins came to an end with a 5-2 defeat.
The Flames were gunning for their eleventh win in a row. This time the challenger was the Boston Bruins. It would be a battle of the backups, with Boston’s Anton Khudobin getting a scheduled start, while Chad Johnson was getting a surprise start after Brian Elliott fell ill. Top goalie prospect Jon Gillies was brought up on an emergency recall, getting to sit on the bench in the NHL for the first time in his young professional career. Matthew Tkachuk was a game time decision for the Flames, but fortunately was able to play.
After a couple rough early powerplays for the Flames against the league’s best penalty-kill, the Flames would get on the board. Alex Chiasson made a nice move coming out from behind the net and chipped the puck past Khudobin for his 10th goal of the season to get the Flames up 1-0.
The lead would be short lived however, as Boston’s David Pastrnak broke down the wing and scored a weak five-hole goal on Chad Johnson. Johnson had some rust after not playing for over a couple of weeks.
It was a pretty even first period, with the Flames having an edge in shots 9-7 and in shot-attempts at even-strength at 14-11 (all shot-attempt numbers from hockeystats.ca).
After the second period was rolling along like the first period, Chad Johnson dropped the ball. Hard. Johnson knocked a floater over to an open space instead of trying to cover up the puck and Brad Marchand took the gift and deposited it in the open net. A brutal goal put the Bruins up 2-1.
But just a minute later, Anton Khudobin must have been feeling bad for Johnson and decided to give up an even worse goal. The former Bruin who was generously given to the Flames, Dougie Hamilton, picked up the puck from centre ice and fired it on goal and it went right by Khudobin for his 11th of the year. The score was tied back up at 2.
The goal scoring fest would continue. The Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland line broke in on a dangerous rush, but Gaudreau’s pass was behind Dennis Wideman. The Bruins turned back the other way on a 3-on-2 and David Backes roofed one over the glove of Chad Johnson to put the Bruins back up on top.
The closest the Flames would get to tying up the game before this period was over would be Michael Frolik ringing one off the post.
The Bruins would take their 3-2 lead to the third period. Shots were 23-16 for Boston after two, while also leading the 5-on-5 shot-attempts 39-29. The Flames would need a big third period.
Unfortunately, it was an ugly third period. Minutes in, Brodie and Engelland both got caught when they jumped up into the rush and the Bruins ended up on a 2-on-0. Ryan Spooner set up Matt Beleskey (always a Flame killer when he was with Anaheim) and the score was 4-2 Boston. Just an ugly and highly questionable play on their part, but at least it was finally a goal where Johnson could not be faulted.
The Flames would get a late powerplay but once again, the Bruins completely shut them down. They were also unable to get anything done once they pulled the goalie and David Pastrnak scored with a couple of seconds left.
The terrific win streak came to the end. The Bruins prevailed over the Flames 5-2. Shots were 32-24 for the Bruins.
Flames 3 Stars
- Alex Chiasson: Probably says a bit about how this game went that Chiasson was the first star for the Flames. But, he scored a nice goal in the first period and broke even in CF% at 50%.
- Sean Monahan: Was not able to get on the scoresheet, but he played a strong game, with many scoring chances and a 61.9% CF.
- Dougie Hamilton: Had a goal and a couple of other scoring chances. Did not have a great game but I ran out of players to pick.
- What a tremendous run for the Calgary Flames. The previous 10 games were the most enjoyable stretch I have had of watching the Flames in a very long time. They won 10 games in a row and played like a terrific team. Instead of wondering whether they could make the playoffs, we are now wondering if they can finish second in the Pacific. With 12 games to go, they are 9 points up on 9th place Los Angeles. As long as they can bounce back quickly from this loss, they are in great shape and should be a tough out for any team in the playoffs. Boston is a tough team and the Flames were not horrendous tonight, just not sharp. They were going to lose eventually. But they have a chance to start a new streak on Friday against the Stars.
- Okay, Troy Brouwer was awful again. I have said it before but it needs to be said again. For the second time in three games, he posted a CF% below 8%, this time posting a whopping 6.25% CF. He was given high ground to, with 60% of his shifts started in the offensive zone. 1 attempt for, 15 against. It is not fair to Sam Bennett and Kris Versteeg to have to play with this guy, he is not even playing like a 4th liner right now. The contract is atrocious. I do not care about whatever “leadership” he brings to the room, there are players that are leaders and are nowhere near as bad as him. He really deserves to be scratched next game.
- Chad Johnson had a rough night too. The first 2 goals were awful and the third one might have been stoppable. The team was not great either, but his play was a stark contrast from what we have been seeing from Elliott lately. Johnson is a big part of the Flames even being in a playoff spot at all though, so we have to cut the guy some slack.
- Chiasson became the 12th player on the team to hit the 10 goal mark this season. That is some very balanced scoring, part of what allowed the team to go on such a streak.
- Matt Stajan collected his 400th career point on Chiasson’s first period goal. He has been a good soldier. Congratulations to him.
- I do not live in Calgary and have not been able to attend a game at the Saddledome since 2006, so I do not have a horse in this race. But, I do not think it is Gary Bettman’s place to come into the city and make a bunch of obnoxious statements, demanding that taxpayers fund a new arena. If he cares so much, he can pay for a new arena.
The Flames are back at it on Friday against the Dallas Stars. After a rough game today, the Flames can look to get back on the win column Friday. Time for a new streak!