Calgary Flames 5 @ Nashville Predators 4 (OT)
CGY - Dube (17) (Backlund (27), Andersson (45)) 4:02 PPG
NSH - Josi (22) (Tomasino (20), Johansen (37)) 5:41
NSH - Duchene (42) (Granlund (49), Josi (71)) 8:08
CGY - Dube (18) (Jarnkrok (18), Kylington (22)) 13:14
NSH - Forsberg (41) (Duchene (41), Granlund (50)) 0:30 PPG
CGY - Hanifin (10) (Ritchie (1), Lucic (11)) 2:03
NSH - Forsberg (42) (Granlund (51), Duchene (42)) 9:35 PPG
CGY - Tkachuk (41) (Hanifin (38), Gaudreau (73)) 19:59.59
CGY - Lindholm (41) (Andersson (46), Gaudreau (74)) 2:01
-Wow: There really is no clever or short way to describe how this game went, and simply saying it was a playoff atmosphere is severely underselling what we all just witnessed. From insane physicality and quality scraps, to numerous and timely goals, this game truly had everything you could want in an absolutely perfect NHL game. Let’s get into it.
-Who needs 59 minutes?: Down 4-3 about as late as you can get in a game, Matthew Tkachuk got his hero moment in a game that he was a focal point of just about everything. With an indeterminately small fraction of a single hundredth of a second left, Tkachuk slammed a puck over the foot of his former teammate to tie the game up at 4. Tkachuk was involved in multiple scrums over the course of the night, including a fairly vicious spear from Matt Duchene, who was not assessed a major penalty for unknown reasons. On a (relatively) quiet night for Johnny Gaudreau, it was Tkachuk who was the Flames best player in a variety of facets all night long.
-Looooch: That’s not to say that Tkachuk was the only bright spot, in fact far from it. Milan Lucic played hands-down his best game of the season and really showed his value when the big games come around. He beat the brakes off of Mark Borowiecki, and probably would have fought a couple more times had the Predators not been shaking in their boots. He dumped Matt Duchene on yes, a penalty-worthy hit, but it was absolutely deserved and perfectly executed. Offensively, he won a crucial offensive zone faceoff mere minutes after the Predators took a 3-2 lead, and provided the necessary screen for Hanifin’s shot to find twine. Erik Gudbranson also was able to feed Tanner Jeannot some well earned punches earlier in the game as the Flames continue to add layers to their team identity. These guys are big, mean, and perhaps perfectly built for the playoffs.
-Big Save, Big Problems: You could feel the air leave a once-jumping building as Juuse Saros limped over to the Predators bench with just over 4 minutes remaining in the third. While it does no good speculating, the no-contact injuries are always never a good sign in sports, and Saros appeared to be favouring his left knee. Former Flame David Rittich entered the game, and let in the tying goal on one of just of a handful of total shots he faced. Elias Lindholm squeaked the game-winner under his arm just seconds after a solid save on Rasmus Andersson.
-Over the Hump: With an assist on the OT winner as well as one on the opening goal, Rasmus Andersson crossed the very impressive 50 point milestone. Incredibly, with a goal and assist, Noah Hanifin is also now within two points of that same marker, as he tied his career high with his 10th goal of the season and added his 38th assist on Tkachuk’s tying goal. For comparison sake, Dougie Hamilton’s highest point total with the Flames in 2016-17, was 50.
-Dube, Dillon: Who even cares what Dube looked like a little too often this season? Playing with Calle Jarnkrok, the Cochrane native has found not only another gear, but confidence that we haven’t seen since the Dallas series. He scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season to pot back-to-back two goal efforts, and increased his goal totals to 8 in his past 7 seven games. The sudden emergence could not have come at a better time as the Flames are exactly one week from potentially playing their first game of the 2022 playoffs.
-More Franchise Records: Calgary’s win in Nashville was their 25th road win of the season, which set a new franchise record. They also got their 50th win of the season, which is the third time the team has achieved that mark, as they also hit it in 2018-19 and 1988-89.