Calgary Flames 4 - NY Islanders 2
That’s the Calgary Flames we know! The Flames took on the stingiest team in the NHL and hung four goals on the Islanders, the first time they’ve given up four since January 8th.
The Flames came roaring out of the gate in the first period and put two goals in during the first 20 minutes which was HUGE considering the team they were playing. You got the feeling that if Calgary was going to win this contest they were going to need to score early and get the Islanders to chase. And that’s exactly what the Flames did. Mikael Backlund would open the scoring five minutes in and 11 minutes later Travis Hamonic would score against his former team putting the Flames up 2-0 as the first period was winding down. Calgary would fire 12 shots at Thomas Greiss as compared to the meek three shots that New York sent Mike Smith’s way in the first.
The Islanders were slightly more successful in the second period as they would score the only goal of the period when Casey Cizikis would bank a shot off of Mike Smith’s foot and the Islanders would pull within one at 2-1. The Flames would once again out shoot NY in the period 12-4, but the Isles would have the only marker of the second 20.
NY would keep pushing back and they would draw even 1:18 into the final period. Anders Lee would put home his 20th of the season and we once again had a game with the score tied 2-2. The Flames easily could have collapsed, but tonight Calgary looked more and more like the team that was rolling before the break. Mark Jankowski would get the puck to Austin Czarnik who would put a weak shot on net that an Islanders defender would deflect into the net and the Flames would regain their lead, this time 3-2. And Calgary wasn’t done. 28 seconds later Johnny Gaudreau would sneak down the left side with the puck on his stick and rip a slap shot past Greiss to give the Flames a 4-2 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
1st: 5:00- Backlund (15) (Frolik), 15:59- Hamonic (5) (Backlund/Lindholm)
3rd: 6:10- Czarnik (5) (Jankowski/Andersson), 6:38- (PPG) Gaudreau (30) (Giordano/Monahan)
2nd: 9:51- Cizikas (16) (Bailey/Toews)
3rd: 1:18- Lee (20) (Eberle/Nelson)
Calgary looked like a much more confident group in this contest and that’s a good sign seeing the Islanders are one of the best in the business. The Flames almost looked like NY early on, surrendering only seven shots through the first two periods, making it difficult for the Islanders to gain any traction.
Mike Smith looked good in net tonight, despite not having a ton off action in his end. Smith stopped 13 of the 15 shots he faced and all four shots the Islanders sent his way on the PP. He didn’t need to be spectacular and he wasn’t. He was solid and made some key stops in his fourth straight start.
The other thing to look at his how well the Flames bottom six played again. The 4th line in particular had some great shifts tonight, making life miserable for the Islanders all night long. Austin Czarnik chipped in with another goal and Mark Jankowski had the assist, so it was another good night for the Flames worker bees. The top line got back into the mix as well with Guadreau’s goal and the second line provided a lot of the heavy lifting, combining for a total of four points.
Flame Of The Game
Mikael Backlund (C): Backlund had a goal and an assist tonight and was tied for the second most shots on the Flames tonight with three SOG. He also collected an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and got the gate for his thoughts on an embellishment penalty. All in all a VERY good night for Mikael Backlund.
2/22: Calgary Flames vs Anaheim Ducks, 7 PM MT