Calgary finished off their 6 game road trip with a solid 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Flames had to battle back and hold on to a lead at the end, but their special teams were dominant and David Rittich saved them in the end.
1st Period: Flames 1 Predators 1
The Preds got the early jump on the Flames taking a 1-0 lead, but as Calgary would do a few times in this game, they battled back and would tie it very late in the period. Nashville would strike first when Ryan Johansen would dive over Michael Stone and barely chip in a loose puck past David Rittich and give the Predators a 1-0 lead.
It would take almost the entire period, but the Flames would get the tying goal with 44 seconds left in the opening frame. Matthew Tkachuk would continue his red hot play with a backhand goal that would tie the game at 1-1. This goal was notable, not only from the standpoint that it tied the game, but for the fact that it was a POWER PLAY GOAL! Mark Giordano would put a wrister on net that Pekka Rinne would save, but Matthew Tkachuk and his net front presence were there to collect the loose change and flip a backhander past Rinne and we were tied 1-1.
2nd Period: Flames 2 Predators 2
The Flames battled back to tie this game in the second period, despite being beat up in the period. Nashville took the physical game to an entirely different level, but the Flames held their ground and took full advantage of a 5 on 3 PP late in the period.
Nashville would strike first in the period and take a 2-1 lead on an opportunistic Yannick Weber goal. Viktor Arvidsson would race in a on a break away and he had David Rittich beat, but Arvidsson hit the crossbar. Weber found himself in the perfect spot as he collected the rebound and easily beat an out of position David Rittich.
Like they did in the first period, the Flames would answer with equalizer late in the period. Calgary would get a 5 on 3 opportunity after Nashville decided to get a little chippy and too physical. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau would set up Dougie Hamilton who would bury his 10th of the season, another power play goal, and tie the game 2-2.
3rd Period: Flames 4 Predators 3
As entertaining goes, this was a great period. Each team had many quality chances, but in the end the Flames were able to hold on after grabbing a 4-2 lead to win 4-3.
The Flames opened the scoring in third when Mark Jankowski would bury his 10th of the season on some beautiful, pin point passing from Sam Bannett and Matthew Tkachuk, giving Calgary a 3-2 lead. Not to be outdone, Curtis Lazar continued his quality play by collecting a loose puck and streaking towards the Predators zone. Lazar would let a wrist shot go that would find Roman Josi’s stick and it would flutter over Rinne’s shoulder for Lazar’s second goal of the season, giving the Flames a 4-2 lead.
There’s a reason Nashville is as good as they are and they weren’t letting the Flames off the hook that easily. Despite a brilliant night in net, David Rittich would make one gaffe in the period and it was costly. Rittich would try to do his best Mike Smith impersonation, but his clearing attempt went right up the gut to Nashville and Nick Bonino would deflect a shot out front past Rittich and just like that it was a 4-3 game.
Dougie Hamilton would take a borderline roughing penalty and using the term borderline is being kind. The penalty gave Nashville a PP where they’d pull Pekka Rinne and have 6 attackers, but the Flames held their ground thanks to David Rittich and killed off the penalty and sealed the victory.
The Flames finished their 6 game road trip with a 4-2-0 record and with the teams they were playing, that’s a huge success. Thanks to the Sportsnet broadcast, the Flames are 8-0-0 when Mark Jankowski scores a goal, which is a good sign for Calgary if he can get hot. David Rittich continues to show he has what it takes to handle the crease duties for Mike Smith and Calgary showed they can battle with the league’s best when they put in a full 60 minutes. The Flames special teams were on point tonight with 2 power play goals in 3 chances and the PK was 5-5 on the night.
Flame Of The Game
David Rittich (G). While Rittich was directly responsible for one Nashville goal, he was more than solid and without his play in the last 3 minutes there’s no way the Flames win this game. His save on Fiala late the period was more than deserving of being the Flame Of The Game.
Feb 17: Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers 8 PM MT