Calgary Flames 3 vs. Vegas Golden Knights 2
3:55 VGK - Carrier (1) (Whitecloud (2), Roy (3))
15:23 VGK - Howden (1) (McNabb (1), Stone (2))
10:43 CGY - Lindholm (2) (Huberdeau (2), Kadri (3)) PPG
13:19 CGY - Toffoli (2) (Andersson (2), Huberdeau (3)) PPG
15:31 CGY - Backlund (2) (Coleman (2), Weegar (3))
This game certainly felt concerningly similar to an April game from last season under these very circumstances, with Calgarian Logan Thompson standing on his head, and some misfortune in the Calgary zone. This team, however, just keeps on smashing down the hurdles of prior adversities as they continue to redefine themselves.
As he did in his first start of the season, Jakob Markstrom spotted the opposition a softie on the first shot he faced. William Carrier whipped a wrister that deflected into the bottom of the Flames cage off of Markstrom’s glove to subdue the crowd early. With under five minutes remaining in the opening period, another Calgarian in Brett Howden got a stick on Brayden McNabb’s point shot to deflect the puck into the very same part of the net as the first one. Calgary had a fairly strong opening period, and they wouldn’t allow Vegas another goal past that point, nor did the Golden Knights match their high of 9 shots in either of the two remaining periods.
With Thompson standing on his head, Elias Lindholm seemed to finally have solved him on an early powerplay in the second. However, Nazem Kadri was deemed to have interfered with Thompson en-route to kicking the puck to Lindholm, as Vegas won their challenge. In an act that can only be looked at with an eye to karmic forces, Lindholm would still prove to be the one to solve Thompson, albeit in far less glamorous form. Another Lindholm shot chipped high in the air off of the goaltender, before accidentally plunking off of Alec Martinez’s raised shaft and into the net. That goal was also on the powerplay.
The extra attacker proved vital once again in this frustrating contest, with Tyler Toffoli notching the equalizer not even three minutes later. Rasmus Andersson’s heavy shot fell out of sight for Thompson off a Vegas defender, where Toffoli quickly slapped it into the open net. The PP finished 2/6 on the night.
The Flames pressed extremely hard in the third and the winning goal felt inevitable. Even with a few Golden Knight powerplays the Flames just won too many puck battles and suppressed almost anything Vegas came up with. Calgary gave up just 5 shots in the third period, in contrast to the 12 they threw at Thompson. The Flames finished with 40. One of these shots that didn’t count was a one-timer nowhere near the net from MacKenzie Weegar. It just so happened to fall nicely behind the net off of the glass. Blake Coleman, who had a fantastic game and had been denied on a short-handed break minutes before, tenaciously hunted the puck and slid it out front to Mikael Backlund, who potted the game winner with under five remaining.
As with most of these positive early season stats so far, Calgary fans need to look back to the 2009-10 squad to find the last time this city saw a 3-0 start. With Vegas falling, Calgary remains one of only five undefeated teams to kick off the 2022-23 season.
Next Up: The Buffalo Sabres are in town Thursday night, 7:30 pm MST start.