Coming off home and home wins against Chicago, the Flames (27-18-8) continue their 6 game road trip traveling further west to New Jersey (27-18-8) for the second game of their travel stint. Calgary sits at a .688% win percentage away from the Saddledome, which is good for 2nd highest in NHL this year.
Mike Smith gets a night warming the bench, as David Rittich comes in for the start, and the young backstop sits at 3-0-2 with a 1.93 GAA in his last five starts.
Ryan Lomberg’s hockey hair and “energy” swaps places from the press box and is in for Curtis Lazar’s Million Dollar Smile. (For you 90’s kids out there, this is like trading Pogs. There are differences in preference, but at the end of the day there’s no change in result. )
In a case of “when it rains it pours”, when it’s Troy Brouwer it’s just a constant torrential downpour as hew took a puck to face in a little under two minutes in, and was headed to the dressing room. (No Pogs jokes for that one. Yowch.)
Devils PP, Dougie Hamilton at 8:22 for Boarding on Kyle Palmieri (Deserved. Dougie dumped him like a box of expired chocolates on Valentines Day. I wish I had more “dumped on Valentine’s Day” jokes.) Devils generate just 1 shot in those 2 minutes, but don’t capitalize. Wust under five minutes left, Palmieri would ring one off the post.
Not much flow through the first 20, but the Prudential Centre being as quiet as your local public library might have something to do with that.
SOG 12-8 Flames after 20.
Troy Brouwer did return to start the second frame. The Flames have been rocking a +11 2nd period goal differential on the year, the following stanza made perfect sense:
Sean Monahan came into the night with goals in 4 straight games, and kept the Space Mountain rolling by burying the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot.at 4:16 (second assist Giordano) for a 1-0 lead.
And then, guess who? Taylor Hall popped one at 7:33 unassisted, picking up his own rebound. 1-1. (When it comes to playing well against the Flames, he just won’t go away. Like a jaded ex on Valetine’s Day.)
As we usually do on the visits to Philly/New Jersey, we waited for native son Johnny Hockey to put a show on in front of his family and friends (Apparently there were 35 of them in the crowd according to Ryan Leslie, which would seem to account for half the crowd) . He found his way onto the scoresheet at 14:33 as he was sprung on a breakaway from Michael Ferland.
More scoring on the rebound (That may or may not be a post-Valentine’s Day tip if you’re looking for love. Last V-Day joke, I swear.) Sean Monahan got in on the scoring for the second time tonight by ringing one off the post and chasing down the loose puck to make it 3-1 Flames at (18:05 from Gaudreau).
Shots were 24-20 Flames after two frames.
Hamonic got to sit and think about what he did, after getting called for a high stick at 6:39. Zacha capitalized for the Devils, from Boyle and Hall on the PP.
It took almost twelve minutes for the Flames to register an SOG in the third, as the pace of the game seemed to disappear again. A fun and rare highlight was Rittich sitting down faster than a scolded child in kindergarten to grab this bobbler:
The Devils pulled Kinkaid late, and called a time out with 37 seconds left in regulation, but it was for naut.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Flames
The Burning Embers:
The spectacular David Rittich story rolls on, stopping 30 of 32 tonight for his 4th victory so far, and having yet to suffer a regulation time loss. Sean Monahan has a goal in every game of the month of February, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see him kick that previous scoring slump off his back.
Calgary moves to 15-5-5 in road games this year, with 12 home games left remaining in the schedule. Considering the lacklustre play at home, the fact that there are 17 road games left after tonight might actually be a good thing. If the Flames can somehow get things going at home to compliment the away play, we might see a big push coming.
Another back-to-back for the boys, as they take on the Rangers at the World’s Most Famous Arena for a 5:00 MST start tomorrow night, then after an off day battle the Islanders with the same start time on Sunday. Keep it glued to M&G for all your Flames weekend coverage!