Calgary Flames 6 Philadelphia Flyers 5 (OT)
Wow. Admit it, when Sean Couturier scored the Flyers fifth goal of the night at 11:10 of the third period you thought this game was over. Yes you did, don’t lie. But more importantly the Flames didn’t and that belief got Calgary an improbable 6-5 OT victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night.
While the end was exciting and the Flames third period magic was fun to watch, this wasn’t a game the Flames looked like they wanted to win for a majority of the first 58 minutes. Philadelphia, despite being out shot all game long (41-19), managed to hang 5 goals on the Flames and they controlled the pace of play for a good chunk of the game. They also had the better goaltender on the night. Anthony Stolarz (35-41) was an absolute rock for most of this contest, frustrating the Flames at every turn and backstopping the Flyers to what was looking like a dominant win. He stymied the Flames on the PP, stopping 12 of the 13 shots he saw on Calgary’s six (6!) PPO on the night. But like most teams have found out, playing against the Flames in the third period isn’t much fun.
Granted, this comeback seemed about as far fetched as any. Calgary’s PP was gifted six opportunities to play with the man advantage, four in the final period, but they came away with nothing. It took pulling David Rittich (relieved Mike Smith to start the third period) and 2 goals in the final minutes to get the Flames to OT. Rasmus Andersson would make a great play to keep the puck onside (while getting absolutely crushed) and he was rewarded by Johnny Gaudreau with his first NHL goal to get the Flames within one, 5-4. Then after pulling David Rittich again, Calgary would fire pucks at Stolarz and finally get the tying goal. With seven seconds left Matthew Tkachuk would get a puck to the net and Sean Monahan would deposit his second goal of the game (19,20) to tie the game with seven seconds left on the clock.
Overtime was over before it started, but it wasn’t without dramatics. Philadelphia would win the face off, start their break and end up getting a great scoring opportunity that David Rittich would turn aside sending the Flames in the other direction. Johnny Gaudreau would crash the crease and collect the loose change, scoring the GWG with just 35 seconds gone in OT.
1st: 9:13- Bennett (5) (Tkachuk/Quine)
2nd: 5:32- (SHG) Giordano (4) (Hamonic/Ryan), 10:13- (PPG) Monahan (19) (Tkachuk/Gaudreau)
3rd: Andersson (1) (Gaudreau/Tkachuk), 19:53- Monahan (20) (Tkachuk/Giordano)
OT: 00:35- Gaudreau (13) (Giordano/Monahan)
2nd: 00:52- Sanheim (3) (Giroux), 5:55- (PPG) van Riemsdyk (3) (Couturier/Giroux), 6:27- Couturier (11) (Voracek/Provorov), 7:43- Weise (4) (Gudas/Hagg)
3rd: 11:10- Couturier (12) (unassisted)
Look, credit where credit is due. Stolarz was phenomenal for most of the night. The goaltending at the other end of the rink was “meh.” Smith surrendered 4 goals on 14 shots and saw his night done after 40 minutes (Sportsnet 960 is reporting Smith was hurt and was the reason why he wasn’t on the bench for the 3rd). David Rittich was very solid in his relief effort and his OT stop was the reason the Flames were able to break out and score the OT winner.
As a whole, this wasn’t a banner game for the Flames for the most part. They did what they had to do late the third and got the job done, but they weren’t perfect. Smith struggled. The defence struggled. The PP struggled. The PP gave up a SHG. BUT, somehow, some way, these Flames found a way to dig deep and summon that patented third period magic.
Flame Of The Game
Sean Monahan (C). Monahan had the game of his life. He finished the night with 2 goals and had an assist on Johnny Gaudreau’s OT goal. He lead the team with eight SOG and won 50% of his face offs on the night. If not for Stolarz and his stellar play, Monahan could have had at least four goals.