1st Period: Flames 0, Islanders 1
The first stanza started off well for the Flames as they registered 4 shots on net without much resistance from the Islanders. However, just 3 minutes into the game, a T.J Brodie turnover in the Flames zone gave the puck to Casey Cizikas, who poked the puck past Mike Smith to make it 1-0 for the Islanders. The Flames would get a powerplay, but much to the chagrin of many Flames fans, failed to register a goal, let alone a shot. Nevertheless, Calgary would get a couple of chances on Jaroslav Halak, but would be unable to capitalize. On another note, the Flames penalty kill looked good against a potent Islanders powerplay. While the Flames did get outshot, there were some good things to take out of the first.
2nd Period: Flames 1, Islanders 2
The second period began similar to the first. The Flames came out fast and strong on the puck. The big difference? They actually carried it throughout the second stanza. While Anthony Beauvillier would score early in the second to make it 2-0 Islanders, the Flames would continue to push, and would eventually be rewarded on the powerplay (this is no joke), when Mark Jankowski tapped in a pass from Sam Bennett to cut the lead to 1.
It was really after that first Flames goal that the Flames would really begin to push. Matthew Tkachuk was up to his usual antics, drawing 2 separate penalties on the Islanders and getting under the skin of the home team. Mike Smith looked a little more comfortable. Overall, it would be fair to say that the Flames dominated the second, vastly outshooting the Islanders.
3rd Period: Flames 3, Islanders 2
Trailing 2-1 going into the third, the Calgary Flames needed a strong third period to muster at least 1 point from the game. And to get that, they first needed to kill of an Islanders power-play. The penalty-killing unit displayed considerable resilience, putting on a stellar kill. But most of all, the Flames built on their momentum in the second period, peppering Jaroslav Halak with shots. Halak looked sharp early on and it looked as though the Flames would really have to battle to get the tying goal, let alone the win.
Just about 10 minutes into the third, Matthew Tkachuk displayed brilliant hand eye coordination, redirecting a Michael Frolik pass past Jaroslav Halak to get the all-important tying goal.
The momentum would continue, with the Flames not letting up. The Islanders would respond with a stretch of time in the Flames zone and would get a power-play following a Mikael Backlund delay-of-game penalty. However, the Flames penalty-killing unit displayed once again its resilience, killing off the penalty without letting too many Islander shots on Mike Smith.
Following that penalty-kill, the Flames continued to build up momentum and continued to wire shots on Jaroslav Halak. But the game-breaker came with just about a minute left in the third, when Matthew Tkachuk, once again, tipped in a Travis Hamonic shot to make 3-2 for the visitors late in the game.
At that point, most Flames fans could basically breathe a sigh of relief more than anything. Even though the Islanders still had 1 minute to get the tying goal, the game had completely shifted and the visitors were on their way to victory. However, the game would not end the way the Flames would have wanted it to, as Mike Smith suffered what may be a groin injury in the last seconds of the game. David Rittich would come in relief and would play a grand total of 2 seconds.
Here’s to hoping that Smith’s injury isn’t too serious, as he has clearly been the rock in net that the Flames have needed for a very long time. I will say, that if Smith is injured, the Flames are in capable hands with David Rittich, who has proven to be a very good and serviceable back up. It’d be good experience for a goaltender who may very well be the Flames future in net.
Flame of the Game:
I have to give this one to Matthew Tkachuk. From puck drop to the final buzzer, Chucky was perpetually buzzing. He drew penalties, got shots on net and more importantly, got two very important goals that would ultimately give the 2 points to the Calgary Flames. I’d say that #19 probably played his best game of the season today.
Next Up: The Flames pay a visit to the Boston Bruins and will hope to get another win under their belt! You can catch the game at 5:00pm MT on Sportsnet West!