Calgary Flames 3 - Carolina Hurricanes 2 (OT)
Well, someone looked like they were already on break for a good 55 minutes of this contest, but Calgary got lucky and stole one from the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night. The Flames got excellent goaltending again from David Rittich as he held the Flames in this contest, stopping 33 of the 35 shots that came his way to earn a 3-2 victory in overtime.
The Flames started off the scoring in the first period as Oliver Kylington would put home his 3rd goal of the season on the Flames first shot and Calgary looked like they were in for a high scoring night. Not so much. The Flames struggled early and often, looking disjointed and like they weren’t even in the building, but thankfully the guy between the pipes came to play tonight. David Rittich was the one bright spot early on as he stopped 15 Hurricanes shots in the first 20 minutes and kept the Flames 1-0 lead until a former Flame would find the back of the net. Dougie Hamilton would put home his 7th goal of the season (off T.J. Brodie’s stick) on one of his team leading four SOG and we were tied at 1-1.
Calgary would again sleep walk through the second period, getting the only goal of the frame off the stick of Mark Jankowski (8th) and the Flames would take a 2-1 lead. While the Flames were far from spectacular they were at least efficient. Calgary would only put three shots on net in the period, but one would find the back of the net. So there’s that at least. David Rittich was once again the best Flames player on the ice in the second period as he stopped all 11 shots the Hurricanes sent his way.
The third period saw the game pick up some momentum as the Flames realized that this Carolina team wasn’t going away and if they had any interest in getting two points out of this they were going to have to play hockey. The Flames poured shots onto the Carolina net, but Peter Mrazek was more than up for the task. Out of no where the Canes goaltender became a brick wall, stopping everything the Flames fired at him over the last five minutes. Calgary was 46 seconds away from barely holding on when Sebastian Aho would catch a tired Flames top line on the ice and sneak by Sean Monahan and beat David Rittich to tie the game and steal a point.
Overtime was brief. Like 15 seconds brief. T.J. Brodie would control the puck in the defensive end and feed a streaking Mikael Backlund who would go backhand to forehand and beat Mrazek before anyone knew that OT had started and the Flames would head into the break with a 3-2 victory.
1st: 1:58- Kylington (3) (Hathaway/Andersson)
2nd: 6:40- Jankowski (8) (Backlund/Brodie)
OT: 00:15- Backlund (12) (Brodie)
1st: 15:48- Hamilton (7) (McGinn/Slavin)
3rd: 19:16- Aho (22) (Unassisted)
This wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. The Flames, despite two goals, didn’t really start playing until there was about five minutes left in the 3rd period. Carolina out shot the Flames 26 to 11 over the first two periods and without the play of David Rittich this game would have gone in another direction very quickly.
Yes, this was ugly, but this Flames team keeps winning games that they should be losing. The PP didn’t score tonight, but the second unit once again looked very good and the Flames 4th line played some quality minutes, which is a good thing in a game where no one else was playing particularity well.
The biggest letdown of this game was the build up between the traded parties that never happened. Micheal Ferland was strong early, but he sustained an injury and didn’t return. The aforementioned Dougie Hamilton had a solid game scoring a goal on four shots. Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin were held off the score sheet, as well as Derek Ryan.
In the end Calgary got a win and two points on a night where they didn’t get a lot of help in the division. It’s nice that Calgary can win these games, but an effort like tonight will catch up to them at some point.
Flame Of The Game
Mikael Backlund (C): David Rittich was a solid candidate for this spot, but Backlund’s two point night trumps him, especially seeing he had the GWG in overtime.