Who needs defence? The Flames and Blackhawks played an entertaining, back and forth game that relied heavy on offence and timely goaltending that saw Calgary come away with a 4-3 victory in Chicago. The win puts the Flames record at 3-1-0 on their four game road trip and also gives the Flames their second straight season sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Calgary’s top line would do a ton of damage tonight, including getting the Flames first goal of the night. Johnny Gaudreau would feed Sean Monahan who’s shot would be stopped by Collin Delia, but Gaudreau was in the right spot to collect his first of the night and his 25th of the season.
Patrick Kane and Gaudreau were the two marquee players in this contest and the battle lived up to the hype. Kane would get the puck on his stick in the Flames end and go forehand to backhand and beat David Rittich with a shot that the Flames keeper had no shot of stopping and just like that we were tied 1-1.
The Flames had a very soild first period, but the Blackhawks would crank up the pressure in the second frame and dominate the second 20 minutes. Chicago would out shoot the Flames in the period 12-9, but the teams would end the period tied at two thanks to Sean Monahan scoring his 9th PPG on the season with just over a minute left in the period.
Calgary really applied the pressure in the third and despite their push and two goals, Delia stood on his head for the Blackhawks. The Flames would fire 18 shots at the ‘Hawks keeper in the final 20 minutes and he would turn aside 17 of those shots. Unfortunately for him, but good for us, was the one he let in: Johnny Gaudreau’s second of the contest which gave the Flames a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Garnet Hathaway scored a short-handed, empty net goal and the Blackhawks would put a little lipstick on the pig with a goal with :29 seconds left, but the Calgary would head home with a 4-3 victory.
1st: 3:24- Gaudreau (25) (Monahan/Lindholm)
2nd: 18:42-(PPG) Monahan (23) (Lindholm/Tkachuk)
3rd: 0:54- Gaudreau (26) (Giordano), 19:10- (SHG) (Empty Net) Hathaway (5) (unassisted)
1st: 16:34- Kane (24) (Anisimov/Gustafsson)
2nd: 5:07- DeBrincat (20) (Kane/Gustafsson)
3rd: 19:31- (PPG) Saad (12) (Anisimov/Keith)
With seven goals scored you wouldn’t think that goaltending would be a major topic in this game, but it was. David Rittich was very strong for most of the game and without the play of Collin Delia this game would have been a blowout win for the Flames. Both teams combined for 78 shots on the night and the fact that only six found the back of the net (one was an empty net) is a minor miracle.
The Flames top players are firmly cementing themselves as 3-4 of the best players in the NHL. Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm combined for six points tonight and that’s not including a Matthew Tkachuk assist that came on the PP. Speaking of Gaudreau, is anyone playing better hockey than him? He’s in 3rd place in the NHL in scoring (64 pts) and has 13 points in his last five games.
The Flames PP also got off the skids by going 1-4 on the night, which is a major improvement over the last few games.
Flame Of The Game
Johnny Gaudreau (F): It’s just another night for the Flames All Star and top point scorer. Gaudreau had two goals on the night, upping his season total to 26. The question now becomes: can anyone stop him?