Calgary Flames 3 - NY Islanders 1
The Flames are fully back on track and it couldn’t be happening at a better time. The Flames rolled into Uniondale NY to take on the Islanders in a game that had playoff intensity written all over it and walked out with a 3-1 victory, their 6th in a row.
Right out of the gate this game was played with post season intensity at both ends of the ice, despite being a touch bit sloppy. The Flames top players were engaged from the puck drop and with their current struggles it was nice to see Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Sean Monahan contributing even though Calgary didn’t find the back of the net in the first period.
Matthew Tkachuk has been the poster boy for the Calgary’s top three struggles and he would vanquish those demons in the second period. Tkachuk would position himself out in front of the Islanders net, take a pass from Elias Lindholm and somehow bury a shot from between his legs to put the Flames up 1-0. If you’re going to snap a goal-less streak, you might as well do it with a highlight reel marker. The Calgary lead would last only five minutes as Josh Bailey would streak in on a 2 on 1 and beat Mike Smith five hole and just like that the Islanders had some momentum in a 1-1 game.
As has been the scenario so many times this season the Flames put this one away in the third period. Calgary would get goals from Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson to extend their lead to 3-1, which they would not relinquish. And a MAJOR reason for Calgary holding on to that lead was Mike Smith. Smith stopped all 10 shots NY sent his way, including a spectacular save with just over a minute to go that he may have actually hurt himself making.
2nd: 2:57- (PPG) Tkachuk (25) (Lindholm/Monahan)
3rd: 3:15- Backlund (17) (Lindholm/Gaudreau), 5:12- Andersson (2) (Czarnik/Giordano)
2nd: 7:39- Bailey (14) (Filppula/Ladd)
The Flames have now won six straight and they are just about done with their Eastern road trip which will be the last time they go East unless they end up in the Stanley Cup Finals. Calgary should be thrilled with how they’ve played against an Islanders team that doesn’t allow a ton of goals. In their two games against the Isles the Flames have scored seven times and played the foil to NY’s defence. While NY makes it tough to score, the Flames have done the exact same thing to them, only allowing 3 goals in the two contests.
Mike Smith is playing some kind of hockey lately. He’s been in net for five of the six Flames victories and he’s responsible for getting them points in six straight games where he has been the starter. Now, Smith did look like he hurt something in the final minute of this game which would be eerily similar to last year where he was hurt with one second left on the clock in NY as well. Hopefully it’s nothing major and that a day off tomorrow will allow him to rest up and take care of whatever happened while he was making a game saving stop.
Lost in the fantastic play of Smith tonight is how strong the Flames top line played tonight. Matthew Tkachuk got on the scoreboard with a goal, Johnny Gaudreau had an assist as did Sean Monahan. Elias Lindholm continued his strong play with two helpers, but getting all of those guys on the same page again will be huge as the Flames come down the final stretch of the season.
Flame Of The Game
Mike Smith (G). Smith was an absolute wall in net for the Flames tonight. He stopped 26 of the 27 shots that came his way to earn his 19th victory of the season.
2/27: Calgary Flames @ NJ Devils, 5 PM MT