Hockey is a game of three periods. Thankfully for the Flames they showed up for the final two periods, clipping the Red Wings 5-3 Wednesday night. Detroit roared out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period on the backs of goals by Darren Helm and Jacob de la Rose, but the Flames buckled down and played really solid hockey in the final 40 minutes.
Sean Monahan would get the Flames on the board first, collecting a rather large Jimmy Howard rebound and would put home his 22nd goal of the season. The Flames would tie the game 2-2 when T.J Brodie would put one on net and somehow Howard would redirect the puck with his trapper, tipping the puck into the net and the Calgary comeback was brewing. But Detroit would take a 3-2 lead after Andreas Athansiou would be awarded a head scratching penalty shot and he would beat Mike Smith through the wickets and the Flames hopes were dimmed.....for a few.
The Flames top power play unit and top line would take over in the third period, mainly on the stick of one Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau scored the game winner at the 9:37 mark of the 3rd to cap off another solid night for the newly minted All Star. Matthew Tkachuk’s superior hockey IQ lead to Gaudreau’s goal as he fed the Flames forward for his 22nd of the year and Calgary had a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Michael Frolik would add an empty netter and Calgary would walk out of Detroit with a 5-3 victory.
2nd: 6:40- Monahan (22) (Lindholm/Gaudreau), 17:59- Brodie (Gaudreau/Lindholm), 19:01- Lindholm (19) (Giordano/Gaudreau)
3rd: 9:37- (PPG) Gaudreau (22) (Tkachuk/Monahan), 19:42- (Empty Net) Frolik (8)- (Jankowski/Ryan)
1st: 13:14- Helm (2) (Athanasiou), 17:19- de la Rose (3) (Rasmussen/Jensen)
2nd: 18:23- Athanasiou (14) (Penalty Shot)
Calgary started off slow tonight, but they were lucky enough to be playing a Detroit team that looks like they have given up. The Red Wings dropped their 6th straight and Calgary’s dominance in the third period clearly broke the Wings.
Mike Smith got the start due to David Rittich being out with a lower body injury and didn’t look any worse for the wear. Sure, he gave up a weak goal early, but Smith settled in and played solid for a guy who hadn’t seen action since December 22nd. He ended up stopping 29 of the 32 shots he faced and you’d have to think if Rittich isn’t ready that Smith will get the start in Boston.
The Flames PP continued to play hot, scoring on two of their five chances, making it two straight games where Calgary has had a power play marker. And speaking of red hot, the Flames top line of Monahan/Gaudreau/Lindholm would combine for 9 points on the night. Is there a line playing better hockey right now?
Flame Of The Game
Johnny Gaudreau (F): Gaudreau had another four point night and even though he had two ugly turnovers, he was brilliant as usual. Rare is the night when Gaudreau has three breakaways and doesn’t score, but he had a goal and three assists on the night and was tied for the team lead in SOG with four.
1/3: Calgary Flames @ Boston Bruins, 5 PM MT