Don’t get sucked back in. Don’t get sucked back in. That’s what I have to keep telling myself as the Calgary Flames picked up their third consecutive victory over a playoff opponent in impressive fashion Wednesday night in Montreal.
Coming off of an equally impressive 3-2 overtime victory in Toronto the previous night, the Flames carried the majority of the play tonight and walked out of the Bell Centre with a 4-1 win. In doing so, they moved two points closer to those same Canadiens as their flickering playoff hopes have been kept alive by a late resurgence.
The Flames got off to a good start early in the first with Noah Hanifin unloading a blast from the blue line after a faceoff win from Mikael Backlund. From there the Flames really took over the pace of the game for the most part and Mark Giordano extended the lead early in the 2nd period. Brett Kulak drew the Habs back within one later in the 2nd but again the Flames were doing a great job of limiting dangerous chances for Montreal and clogging up the neutral zone.
In the latter portion of the third, the Flames got their two goal lead back thanks to a pair of pretty ugly turnovers from Corey Perry and Shea Weber, as Josh Leivo was the beneficiary of the latter, beating Jake Allen with a backhand shot. Down two, Montreal pressed but didn’t generate much and Sean Monahan hit an empty net for good measure.
With the win, Calgary pulled within four points of Montreal, although the Canadiens still hold three games in hand. The odds are still long, but they took another step on the long road to getting back into it.
1st Period: CGY - Hanifin (4) (Backlund) 3:58
2nd Period: CGY - Giordano (8) (Tanev, Lindholm) 0:29, MTL - Kulak (1) (Drouin, Anderson)
3rd Period: CGY - Leivo (5) (Unassisted) 12:49, CGY - Monahan (9) (Tanev, Giordano) 18:50
Calgary: 12-13-9 = 34
Montreal: 8-10-9 = 27
CGY: Markstrom 26/27
MTL: Allen 30/33
Flame of the Game
Elias Lindholm (F): While I was really impressed by the play of the Leivo-Ryan-Ritchie line tonight, I thought Lindholm and his linemates played a very strong game and generated a number of great chances. Although they only combined for a single assist, I thought they looked dangerous, especially down low in the offensive zone. Lindholm was especially effective tonight and was unlucky to not find the scoresheet.