Calgary Flames 3 vs. Carolina Hurricanes 2 (OT)
1:44 CAR - Aho (3) (Teravainen (2))
10:28 CAR - De Haan (1) (Stastny (2), Noesen (4))
13:31 CGY - Kadri (2) (Toffoli (2), Andersson (4))
2:31 CGY - Ritchie (2) (N/A)
4:30 CGY - Toffoli (3) (Andersson (5))
-ReMarkable: I’ll admit it. I was down on him early, because for the second start in three games this season, Jacob Markstrom let in the first shot of the game. Midway through the first, he somehow got completely discombobulated by a jostle with Stefan Noesen and let in an extremely soft goal between his stickless legs. But wow. By night’s end Markstrom was easily the best Calgary player and finally gave us a performance to renew that confidence the Vezina finalist built up last year. This felt like the first true Markstrom performance since Game 7 of the Dallas series, and the final 40 minutes of this one were phenomenal.
-Redemption arc: After going the first 29 games of 2021-22 completely pointless, Brett Ritchie finally found the scoresheet in March 2022 en route to a 3 goal season. On a weak shot but a smart play, Ritchie banked in his second goal of 2022-23 in just game number five. He has looked faster and more engaged than at any point last year, and has genuinely found an identity for himself. We all know how Sutter has felt about Ritchie since day 1, and his play this season has endeared himself to be seen at that level much more. Milan Lucic may have been the fastest skater on the ice tonight, and came oh so close on a surprisingly slick wrap around.
-Leading by example: Nazem Kadri has easily been the Flames best forward this season, and probably their best player overall. With the team trending in the wrong direction down 2-0, he drew a valuable penalty in the offensive corner that would lead to a #91 goal on the man advantage to flip the narrative. Naz has such a unique ability to be noticeable every single shift, which tonight included helping out on Ritchie’s goal. Although the assists were taken away due to a Hurricane swat, Kadri carried the puck into the offensive zone and bought time along with Dillon Dube for the fourth line to come on.
-Depth scoring: Don’t look now but Rasmus Andersson is tied for the team lead in points after tonight. The Swede has looked all shades of confident to start the season, and drove the net like a bulldog on the overtime winner to slide a pass to Tyler Toffoli. Speaking of whom, he has taken his fair share of criticism for the 5-on-5 play of the first line this season, but Toffoli quietly leads the team in goals. No matter what, he has been undeniably good at finding points and sits second behind Andersson and Kadri for the points lead.
-Phew: After the positivity of the second period push which saw Calgary outshoot Carolina 14-2, Derek Stepan scored a crushing goal with just seven seconds remaining to take a 3-2. With no hesitation at all the Flames challenged and won, as Sebastian Aho had almost no touch on the puck at all as he backed into the Flames zone. Offside, no goal.
Next up: Sidney Crosby and the offensive juggernaut Penguins are in town on Tuesday night, 7 pm MST.