1st: 3:34- PP Gaudreau (5) [Lindholm (5), Tkachuk (2)]
3rd: 19:28- EN Backlund (2) [Lindholm (6)]
Look what a good first period can do for you. The Calgary Flames ended an uninspiring 3-game losing streak, while handing their opponent their first loss of the season. Dillon Dube made his return to the lineup after missing the last 3, however he may be coming back out soon.
A common trend over those losses was the Flames slow starts, and continuously having to chase the game from behind. Neither of those things would be true Saturday, as Calgary scored early, and played a hard game the rest of the night.
Johnny Gaudreau scored a powerplay goal just 3 minutes into the affair, and although it would take another 57 minutes to be recognized, would be the game winning goal. Elias Lindholm sent a centering pass to Gaudreau, that was deflected up into the air. Johnny gloved the puck to his stick and ripped it over Jake Allen’s glove all in one motion to open the scoring.
The Flames and Canadiens played a tough but fairly open game. Both Markstrom and Allen were sensational, and lucky bounces and a matter of inches saved this game from being closer to a 5-4 stat sheet, rather than 1-0.
As hinted to before, Dillon Dube may find himself in some hot water. A strange play saw Jesperi Kotkaniemi explosively change direction behind his own net, with his head down. A coasting Dube was suddenly confronted with Kotkaniemi in front of him, and extended his forearms which unfortunately made contact with quite a bit of Kotkaniemi’s head. In my opinion it was more of a freak play than anything, with unusual skating pattern and a player barely coasting into the offending hit. Kotkaniemi briefly left, but was a full participant in the third period.
Calgary pleasantly surprised me by playing quite aggressively right into the final three minutes, with Joakim Nordstrom getting the first two good chances of his Flames career. The Canadiens never really came close to the tying goal, and Mikael Backlund’s patience earned him the empty net goal.
Calgary is back in action against the red hot Jets in Winnipeg Monday at 6 pm MST.