Calgary Flames 4 - Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (SO)
Wow. I think that pretty much sums up the Flames 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shoot out Thursday night. Were you entertained? Because if you weren’t we aren’t sure what you find entertaining. Calgary went toe to toe with the NHL’s best team, shot for shot, save for save. There really isn’t much else you could ask from Calgary, besides collecting the “W.” It’s just a shame that someone had to lose this game, especially in a shoot out.
Early on Calgary dominated the Lightning taking a 3-1 lead into the first period intermission. The Flames got goals from Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund in the first 20 minutes and looked like they were on their way to an easy two points. However, the Lightning aren’t the best team in the NHL for no reason. Tampa would score 3 straight goals to give themselves a 4-3 lead with a little over four minutes left in the third period. Head for exits? Nope. If you know this Flames team you know that third period leads by the opposition mean absolutely nothing to this Calgary team. Johnny Gaudreau would pounce on a loose puck and race in, beating Louis Domingue five hole, tying the game 4-4.
In a game that was so solid from start to finish, you would think it would be hard to top the first 60 minutes of play, but the 3 on 3 overtime was even more entertaining. Each team had multiple chances to end this before the shoot out, but both goaltenders, mainly Domingue, shut down both offences and we remained knotted at four. Domigue’s three consecutive stops on a bewildered Sean Monahan may have been the saves of the game, in a game where he had many.
Both Domingue and David Rittich would put on a goaltending clinic in the shootout, but J.T. Miller would end it with a goal in the 7th round beating Rittich to give the Lightning a 5-4 victory.
1st: 4:29- Bennett (6) (Tkachuk/Hanifin), 7:50- Monahan (21) (Lindholm/Gaudreau), 12:25- Backlund (6) (Bennett)
3rd: 17:32- Gaudreau (16) (unassisted)
Shoot Out: Monahan
Tampa Bay Lightning
1st: 3:38- Palat (4) (Point/Kucherov)
2nd: 3:19- Stamkos (18) (Erne), 5:52- Killorn (9) (Gourde/McDonagh)
3rd: 15:35- Girardi (3) (Cirelli)
Shoot Out: Hedman, Miller
This was one heck of a game. While there were a lot of goals scored, it had the feel of playoff hockey. One team jumps out and controls the pace, then the other team adjusts, gets back into the game and fantastic hockey ensues from there. The Flames PK was a huge part of this game, killing all four penalties they took against one of the NHL’s most dangerous teams with the extra skater.
If you look at the stats, this game couldn’t have been more even:
Shots: Calgary (37), Tampa (36)
Hits: Calgary (19), Tampa (13)
FO%: Calgary (52), Tampa (48)
Blocks: Calgary (14), Tampa (11)
We said the Flames needed to get a minimum three points during the final three games before the break and this was one that Calgary should be happy to collect a point. Of course two points would be better, but the way the Flames held their own against the NHL’s best team is a sign that this Calgary team is for real.
Flame Of The Game
Sam Bennett (F). Bennett scored the opening goal, assisted on Mikael Backlund’s goal and was all around solid throughout the game. He was great with the puck on his stick and he threw his body around when needed. His seven hits lead the team and his 2 points on the night tied Johnny Gaudreau for the team lead.