Calgary Flames 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 1
14:11 CGY - Kadri (3) (Mangiapane (2), Dube (3))
17:41 CGY - Kadri (4) (N/A)
3:00 CGY - Huberdeau (1) (Andersson (6), Kadri (5)) PPG
4:32 PIT - Malkin (4) (Carter (4), Poulin (1)) PPG
11:20 CGY - Stone (2) (Lucic (2), Ritchie (1))
-Early and often: After falling behind 2-0 in both the Vegas and Carolina wins and the atrocity that was the first period of the Buffalo game, the Flames put a very clear emphasis on a strong start against a tired Penguins team. Calgary outshot Pittsburgh 20-6 in the first period and carried a 2-0 lead as a token of their efforts. The slight danger in playing such a dominant period, in which the shots were 18-1 at one point, was the slow starts that Jacob Markstrom has been prone to to start the year. Perhaps thanks to his team’s play or his own rejuvenation in the final 40 minutes last game, but Markstrom was fantastic again. The Pens lone goal was an odd-man rush on a powerplay on which Elias Lindholm took a horrendous line change.
-NazHIM Kadri: He has been absolutely everything the Flames could have hoped for already entering this game, and yet Nazem Kadri showed he still hadn’t shown his best. The center, riding a season-opening 5 game point streak, scored first for the Flames for the second straight game as he finished off a slick pass from Andrew Mangiapane late in the first. With the Flames initially shorthanded, Kadri carried a turnover at the Calgary blueline into a 2-on-1 the other direction, which he ripped home for his second goal in three minutes. A powerplay assist later in the game pushes his totals to four goals and five assists on this six game point streak.
-Phewberdeau: The concern with the Flames top players has been primarily focused on Lindholm to start this season, but the slight worry over no goals for their presumptive leading scorer was tingling the backs of Flames fans minds. This game felt different right off the bat with Huberdeau ripping off a couple early shots after speaking of doing just that earlier this week. On a powerplay early in the second period, Huberdeau showed the city of Calgary just how diverse his arsenal is, as he released a long-range missile from the top of the circles that found it’s home in the top of the net. Rasmus Andersson got the other assist on the goal, as he continues to pile up points early in this season.
-All Hail Michael Stone: 6 points in a very limited 11 games last season was surprisingly phenomenal offensive production for a guy that saw the ice so irregularly. Once again an every day player to start this year, Stone has shattered even that pace as he added his second goal and fifth point in just his sixth appearance. The expected pushback from the Penguins was particularly harsh after the Malkin goal, and the Penguins exacted revenge on the first period domination with a 21-4 shoot around of their own. That pressure was hit with a massive release valve thanks to another great shift in another great game for the Flames fourth line. Brett Ritchie and Milan Lucic chipped the puck back to blueline, where it received a trademark Stone slapping through Casey DeSmith to kill a lot of Pittsburgh’s energy heading into the third.
Next Up: The all-too-soon second-last Battle of Alberta goes Saturday night at the Dome, 8pm MST.