The Flames needed a bounce back win after their no show in Vegas Friay night and they got exactly what the doctor ordered Sunday afternoon. The Flames defeated the Arizona Coyotes soundly 6-1 in Mike Smith’s return to the building where he played the majority of his career.
Smith wasn’t really tested for most of the contest, but this was the kind of game he needed to get back on the horse. He stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced, looked confident in handling the puck and even after giving up the lone goal of the game, he was joking with Travis Hamonic during a commericial break. Why was he joking with Hamonic? Smith had a shut out rolling until 13:34 of the 3rd period when Clayton Keller came cruising in and sniped the top corner to get Arizona it’s lone goal of the game. Hamonic was involved in the play seeing he tried a cross ice pass that was picked off by Keller, who came in all alone and did not miss. More importantly, after the goal Smith’s body language didn’t change and he stayed as sharp as he was before that goal was scored.
The Flames handled their buiness from the get go and pounded Antti Raanta for 6 goals on 26 shots before he got the hook. Calgary’s special teams owned the day as they gave the Coyotes a little taste of their own medicine. Arizona leads the NHL in short handed goals with 10. Calgary dropped 3 shorties on the ‘Yotes, including a great goal by Mark Jankowski that was all hustle and grit. Not to be forgotten was the Flames PP unit which scored as well, making it a pretty solid day all around for the Flames special teams.
1st: 7:27- Monahan (13) (Gaudreau/Giordano), 16:22- (Short-Handed) Hanifin (1) (unassisted)
2nd: 8:34- PPG Hanifin (2) (Neal/Ryan), 11:25- Jankowski (3) (Brodie/Dube)
3rd: 3:39- (Short Handed) Brodie (2) (Backlund), 4:03- (Short Handed) Jankowski (4) (unassisted)
3rd: 13:34- Keller (6) (unassisted)
The Flames needed this game, not just to get 2 points in the division, but to get Mike Smith feeling good about himself. David Rittich has been outstanding since Smith started to falter and whether you think one is the starter and the other is the back up, the Flames need them BOTH to be playing well. Calgary should probably still be leaning on David Rittich, but giving Smith another start to build him up won’t be a bad thing.
Congratualtions are in order for NHL vet James Neal. Neal picked up a helper on Noah Hanifin’s 2nd period goal giving him his 500th career NHL point.
Flame Of The Game
Noah Hanifin: Hanifin scored his first career goal with the Flames on a short handed marker and added a second goal in the 2nd period. Hanifin’s game has been coming along and if he plays like he did today, more often, the Flames will be very happy,