Calgary Flames 2 - Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (SO)
2nd: 7:34- Ryan (9) (Hamonic/Dube)
Toronto Maple Leafs
3rd: PPG 8:35- Nylander (21) (Tavares/Barrie)
Calgary looked like a vastly different team Thursday night than they did in a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens the last time they hit the ice. Calgary defended well, had quality scoring chances and got incredible goaltending from a rejuvenated David Rittich.
A newly minted All Star, Rittich went head to head with Toronto’s All Star keeper Frederik Andersen and held his own and then some. Rittich faced 36 shots on the night and stopped 35 of those, including three in OT and all three Toronto shooters in the shootout. Andersen was no slouch last night either as he held the Flames to one goal during regulation and overtime, turning aside 31 of Calgary’s 32 shots.
The Flames would get the opening goal of the contest, which is nice for a change, when Derek Ryan would camp out in front of Andersen and deflect a shot from Travis Hamonic past the Leafs keeper, scoring his 9th of the season and putting the Flames up 1-0.
That 1-0 score would hold for a good chunk of time as Calgary couldn’t expand on their one goal lead and Toronto wouldn’t solve David Rittich until the Maple Leafs would cash in on the PP. With Tobias Rieder in box for holding, Toronto would pull even on William Nylander’s 21st of the season and as hard as it would seem with Toronto’s fire power, this game would head to OT tied 1-1.
Overtime didn’t provide an answer or a ton of fireworks as both Rittich and Andersen stopped all seven OT shots and this one would head to a shootout.
Shootouts are always a flip of the coin and despite the Flames shootout success it’s never easy when you head into the gimmick round against a team like Toronto that can score at will. With that said, David Rittich had other plans. The Flames keeper clearly wasn’t impressed with Toronto’s offensive threats (especially Auston Matthews) as he stopped all three Maple Leaf attempts and allowed everyone’s new, least favorite player take advantage. With a chorus of “boos” following him everywhere, Matthew Tkachuk skated past those boo’s. opened up Frederik Andersen and buried the puck in the back of the net giving the Flames the only goal in the shootout and a 2-1 victory.
All in all this was a very solid team effort for the Flames tonight. Calgary Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews off the score sheet, which is no easy task. Matthews led BOTH teams in SOG with 9, but he couldn’t solve David Rittich.
A good reason for Matthew’s struggles tonight were Calgary’s defenders. The entire Flames defence did a great job of not only shutting down Matthews, but the entire Toronto offence. Calgary threw 22 hits in this contest and blocked 23 shots as well. They had their sticks in every place they should have been and were a big reason the Flames were able to get two points.
Flame Of The Game
David Rittich (G): Who else COULD it be? Since his little three game slide earlier in the month Rittich has used Cam Talbot’s resurgence as motivation and it’s worked. In the Flames last two games he has clearly been their best player and tonight was no exception. Rittich made routine saves and highlight reel saves. His blocker save late in the third kept the score 1-1 and he was perfect in the shootout.
1/18: Calgary Flames @ Ottawa Senators, 2 PM MT