If the Flames plan on making the playoffs anytime soon, then they will have to take some lessons from the team they were playing tonight. The Canadiens are 1 of a handful of teams to pull off an accelerated rebuild, from worst to first in the Eastern conference. Tonight will be a good litmus test to see how the Flames young NHLers stack up against the top young players on one of the top teams in the East.
Can the Flames put together another strong game based around out-working the other team? Will veterans McGrattan and Glencross make up for their costly mistakes last game? Will I lose my bet with a Habs fan? Only time would tell.
The first period starts out quickly with both teams skating hard and finishing checks. The Flames have a couple chances negated by close off-side calls. 9 minutes in Sean Monahan and Lee Stempniak convert on a 2 on 1 with Monahan collecting his 3rd goal in his 4th game. Montreal would get a chance to tie the game up moment later off a turn over from Joe Colbourne right in front of his net but MacDonald would bail his young teammate out with big save. With 4 minutes left in the first Bouma gets penalized for high sticking, giving Montreal a chance to tie the game back up, but the Flames put together a solid penalty kill to keep the lead. Not long after the penalty expires Sven Baertschi would pounce all over a rebound from a Sean Monahan shot for the easy tap in goal giving the Flames a 2-0 lead.
The second period started a lot like the first. Montreal and Calgary both exchanged chances and both teams would get some sustained pressure. 4 minutes in T.J. Galiardi gets penalized for tripping Daniel Briere and spends 2 minutes in the box. On the ensuing power play Montreal would get a glorious opportunity when the puck would land on the stick Andrei Markov, who seemed to have a wide open net to shoot at, only to be denied by Joey MacDonald stacking the pads. With 5 minutes left it would be Montreal’s turn to take a penalty with Francis Boullion getting called for boarding. On the ensuing power play Curtis Glencross tips in a Dennis Wideman point shot to give the Flames a 3-0 lead. Shortly after Brandon Gallagher would use his speed to catch Giordano flat footed and force him to take a tripping penalty. The Canadiens get to within 2 goals late in the second off a rocket of a shot from P.K. Subban making it 3-1.
Things opened up a bit in the third period with both teams getting some chances off of some loose defensive coverage. The Flames kept the pressure on despite the 2 goal lead, but would eventually allow the Canadiens to pull within one when Lars Eller converts off of a P.K. Subban bank pass. Montreal would turn up the pressure, but Calgary did a good job of keeping the shots to the outside. Monahan and Stempniak would get relieve that pressure with a couple of scoring opportunities down low before P.K. Subban would take a bad cross-checking penalty giving Calgary a 2 minute power play with less than 2 minutes left. Calgary missed a couple of empty net attempts but were able to close out the game with a 3-2 win.
1.Sean Monahan: How can anyone else go in this spot? The kid doesn’t play like an 18 year old that’s for sure. Solid game all around from the Flames youngster and he topped it off with a goal and an assist.
2.P.K. Subban: Almost single handedly got the Canadiens back into the game with a rocket of a shot for the first Canadiens goal and a lidstrom-esqe bank pass off the boards to set up the Canadiens second goal. Showed a ton of emotion tonight, although not all of it good.
3.Sven Baertschi:Played well in all 3 zones tonight, and his solid play directly resulted in the first 2 goals the Flames scored. Definitely the best game he has played this season.
With the Flames up 2 – 0 in the second period and Montreal on the PP, Joey MacDonald let out a huge rebound right into the slot, onto the stick of Andrei Markov. MacDonald slide across the crease getting his pads stacked to turn the puck away.
Not the biggest hit I’ve ever seen but early in the first David Jones would come barrling into the Montreal zone running over his Canadiens counterpart and setting a physical tone nice and early that would carry on throughout the game.
I’m going to carry over the we won so no goat rule I had last year. Solid effort from top to bottom tonight.
Going to have to go with the kids Monahan and Baertschi. Both showed a lot of jam in all 3 zones tonight and were creating offensive opportunities all game.
Odds and Ends
Congrats to Rene Bourque on his 500th career NHL game…I can’t tell if Joey MacDonalds looks a little too shakey or if I’ve been spoiled over the years watching the blackhole that was Miikka Kipprusoff…I see why Bob Hartley likes Ben Street. He’s the Derek Smith of the forwards. A solid, if unspectacular, forward who plays a good possession game…Love how hybrid icing speeds up the game. It was always one of my favorite things about watching Junior hockey…I thought Chris Butler and Shane O’Brien both quietly had solid games tonight. Would like to see that more often from them…I didn’t notice Colbourne on the ice after his big give away in the first, and he played less than 4 minutes tonight. Probably a press box candidate…Giordano and Brodie played a very good game tonight and held the blueline well I thought…I’m interested to see how this team responds to a bad game, they have been a lot better than expected to start the year.
The Flames host the New Jersey Devils Friday October 11th at 7 PM at the Saddledome. You can catch the game on Sportsnet.
Glencross- Street- Jones
Baertschi- Monahan- Stempniak
Galiardi- Backlund- Hudler
Bouma- Colborne- McGrattan