I.....uh....well....um...so...yeah. Where to even begin? Calgary came to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on the last day of their 2 game road trip and this one quickly went sideways for the good guys. Calgary did open the scoring as Johnny Gaudreau would take a feed from Sean Monahan and absolutely snipe the top right corner, beating Sergei Bobrovsky, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead. Then it would all go down hill. Columbus would make life difficult for the Flames trying to get in AND out of the zone and they’d make Calgary pay for mistakes. First, James Neal would forget that he was supposed to be covering Zach Werenski and he would collect a huge rebound and tie the game 1-1. Then Josh Anderson would use Mark Jankowski as a screen and beat David Rittich high blocker side. 2-1. Then Cam Atkinson would score the first of his 3 goals on the night, beating David Rittich on a shot he needed to save and just like that, this one was over....right?
Bill Peters saw enough and gave Rittich the hook between periods and put the recently streaking Mike Smith in net to try and settle things down. “D’Oh.” A mere 49 seconds into the second period Atkinson would score his 2nd, giving the Blue Jackets an insurmountable 4-1 lead. Warm up the buses right? Wrong. Out of NOWHERE the Calgary Flames exploded on Bobrovsky and Columbus. Calgary would score 5 straight goals (Monahan, Lindholm. Tkachuk, Hanifin & Brodie) and take a 6-4 lead they would not only hold, but increase. Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Austin Czarnik would round out the scoring for the good guys and the Flames would win their 3rd straight, 9-6.
1st: 6:24- Gaudreau (11) (Monahan Hamonic)
2nd: 1:55- (PPG) Monahan (16) (Giordano), 2:46- Lindolm (13) (Hamonic/Monahan), 12:39- (PPG) Tkachuk (13) (Lindholm/Gaudreau), 13:29- Hanifin (3) (Tkachuk/Jankowski), 14:32- Brodie (3) (Gaudreau)
3rd: 2:15- (PPG) Monahan (17) (Giordano/Tkachuk), 6:29- Gaudreau (12) (Giordano/Smith), 13:11- Czarnik (2) (Backlund)
Columbus Blue Jackets
1st: 9:47- Werenski (5) (Bjorkstrand/Wennberg), 15:43- (PPG) Anderson (12) (unassisted), 19:42- Atkinson (17) (Panarin/Jones)
2nd: 00:49- Atkinson (18) (Panarin/Jones), 15:00- Foligno (7) (Murray)
3rd: 8:13- Atkinson (19) (Nutivaara/Murray)
This wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Goaltending was atrocious on all sides. David Rittich gave up 3 goals on 14 shots in only 1 period of work. Mike Smith gave up 3 goals on 16 shots over 2 periods. Sergei Bobrovsky gave up 8 goals on 26 shots and Joonas Korpisalo gave up one goal on 2 shots. Yikes.
This was no defensive masterpiece either. There are LOTS of minuses on the stat sheet, especially on the Columbus side of the ledger. Of their 6 defenceman, only 2 had a plus rating. The Flames weren’t much better, they just scored more and applied the lipstick to the proverbial pig.
We aren’t even going to attempt to breakdown Rittich vs Smith because neither was great, but neither was terrible. It was just poor all around. But one thing you have to take from this game is the Flames unwillingness to quit. Down 4-1 they could have packed it in and gone home but they didn’t. They chipped away one goal at a time and used timely power play opportunities to climb right back in to this game. Sean Monahan’s PPG to get Calgary within 2 was a major turning point of the game. When you give up a quick goal to fall behind by 3, it’s crucial that you score quickly and that’s just what the Flames did. That goal changed everything. You could see Columbus start to play on their heels a bit and Calgary’s high powered offence pounced on a shell shocked Columbus team.
Flame Of The Game
Sean Monahan (C): Monahan had a 4 point night (2G 2A) and his tip of Mark Giordano’s shot got the Flames to within 2 goals and really changed the direction of the game. He also was a force at the face off dot, winning 71% of his draws on the night.