Sean Monahan scored 90 seconds into the game and the Avalanche trailed for the duration of the contest as the Flames won 4-2. Monahan had 1 goal and 3 assists, while Brian Elliott stopped 23 of 25 shots against him.
The final push. The home stretch. Game #76.
Tonight’s match up would be against the abysmal Colorado Avalanche. It would be the final contest the Flames would play this regular season against a team that is not from California, as the final six games remaining include two contests against each of the Kings, Sharks and Ducks. Brian Elliott was in net once again. A win would all but clinch a playoff spot.
Former Flame Joe Colborne was playing his first game in Calgary since leaving as a free agent in the summer. It would be a very rough start to his return, as he tripped Johnny Gaudreau on the first shift of the game and his former teammates would make him pay. Sean Monahan’s shot that was going to go wide ended up deflecting off Avs’ defenseman Erik Johnson’s skate and past starting goaltender, Calvin Pickard. Monahan’s 26th of the season made it 1-0 Calgary.
The Flames would control play for most of the period, with the Avalanche having a bit of a push towards the end of the frame. It would be 1-0 Flames after the first. The Flames led the shot department 9-6 and had 67% of the even-strength shot-attempts.
After the Flames killed off 2 straight penalties to begin the second period, they would add to their lead. The Monahan line would have a couple of chances before Micheal Ferland put in a rebound to make it 2-0 for the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau had the primary assist on the play, which was his 200th career NHL point! Ferland now has 15 goals on the season, not too shabby.
The Flames would continue to control play throughout the frame and would take a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Shots on goal after two were 22-12 for the Flames.
The Avalanche would get on the board on an early second period powerplay. An unfortunate rebound off the boards went to Sven Andrighetto who got deposited a shot past Brian Elliott. The game was suddenly a lot more interesting, with the lead cut to one.
The tight game would be short lived, as just a couple of minutes later, Troy Brouwer would put the Flames back up by 2 on the powerplay. Brouwer got off a very nice shot after Monahan set him up off the rush. Brouwer has been finding the back of the net lately after a massive slump, with 3 goals in his last 4 games. While his overall play leaves a lot to be desired, if he can continue to chip in some goals, that would definitely be big.
The Avalanche actually poured on a fair bit of pressure late in the game. With the extra attacker, through a lot of traffic Andrighetto scored his second of the game to bring the Avalanche within one with just under 2 minutes remaining. That would be as close as they would come, as Johnny Gaudreau would score into the empty-net with seconds remaining.
It was not a pretty end but the Flames won. Final score was 4-2 for the Flames.
Flames 3 Stars
- Sean Monahan: A goal and three assists, along with a couple other nice chances. He sits at 26 goals now, can he get to 30 with 6 games remaining?
- Brian Elliott: Made some nice saves throughout the game, especially when the Avalanche pressed in the third.
- Johnny Gaudreau: His assist was his 200th career point and he was a threat in this game. Also picked up an empty-netter. He has been phenomenal lately. Remember all those doomsday proclamations about him awhile ago?
- The Avalanche are a sad team.
- Joe Colborne: 4 goals, 4 assists in 60 games this year. That was nicely played by Brad Treliving.
- The Flames knew they had to win this game and did what they had to do. It was not the most exciting game but it was methodical and they locked it down.
- Having such a dangerous scoring unit in the Monahan line to go along with the straight up dominant 3M line makes the Flames a lot to handle. The bottom-six has a lot of good pieces but probably needs to be reconfigured for optimal performance.
- I love Johnny Gaudreau.
- This was the last easy game left on the schedule, at the final 6 are against their Pacific Division rivals from California and then it is playoff time!
- This would have been the perfect game to give Rasmus Andersson a shot in the line up. It is disappointing that they are accepting the mediocrity that is the Bartkowski-Engelland pairing. They are not going to be good enough in the playoffs. To be fair, they did have a great game tonight but they were playing a very awful team.
- Tonight, Micheal Ferland scored his 15th of the season, which is a great accomplishment for a former 5th round pick. Even greater, today marked three years of sobriety for Ferland. That is awesome to hear, a lot of respect to him for turning his life around off the ice and it is great to see him being rewarded with success on the ice too.
The Flames host the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. If the Flames win, they clinch a playoff spot. How exciting is that?