Calgary Flames 1 - Edmonton Oilers 2
1st: EDM (5:41)- Puljujarvi (5) (Barrie/Nurse)
2nd: EDM (17:55)- Hass (1) (Neal/Chiasson), CGY (18:40)- Andersson (3) (Gaudreau/Giordano)
It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but the Flames came out on the losing end of a 2-1 decision at the Saddledome Friday night. As usual the Flames were in a hole after 20 minutes as the Oilers went to the locker room with a 1-0 lead. That would be the 12th game out of 17 if you are scoring at home where the Flames trailed after the opening frame.
To add insult to injury, the Flames were taken down by former teammates. Mike Smith got the start in goal and the former Flames keeper stopped 20 of 21 to get his fourth win on the season and remain a perfect 4-0-0. The other former Flames? “Real Deal” James Neal and Alex Chiasson got the helpers on Gaeten Haas’ GWG goal at the 17:55 mark of the second period to add insult to injury.
Calgary would get on the board thanks to a Rasmus Andersson goal, but they could not find the equalizer as Mike Smith and the Oilers would shut the door in the final frame and hold on to a 2-1 victory, sending the Flames to their second straight defeat and giving Edmonton their 8th win in 11 games.
Calgary didn’t play a particularly bad game tonight and I guess that’s a step in the right direction. David Rittich got his third start of the season and looked more than capable in net, stopping 23 of 25, but couldn’t get that elusive first win as he fell to 0-3-0.
Johnny Gaudreau continued to be the Flames most dangerous player on the ice, collecting an assist, applying pressure on the forecheck and being anything the Flames needed. At times on the night he seemed to be almost quadruple shifted as he was all over the rink.
Once again the Flames did a great job shutting down Connor McDavid and Leon Draistaitl, holding them pointless on the night. Mikael Backlund was a key to this success, once again being matched up with McDavid and logging the third most minutes of any Flames forward on the night.
Flame Of The Game
David Rittich (G): Rittich was a huge question mark coming into this contest, but he provided the Flames some welcome relief in the crease and was solid for just about all 60 minutes. Calgary needed him to step up and give Jacob Markstrom a well deserved night off and he did just that.
2/20: Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers, 8 PM MT