The Blue Jackets have had a rough go against the teams from Alberta so far this season and will be looking to turn their fortunes around. The last time the Flames and Black Jackets played it ended with the Flames spoiling the Blue Jackets home opener, 4-3.
The Flames are coming off a hard fought win against the Jets that ended 5-4 after Sean Monahan potted the winner in the 8th round of the shootout, ending a 6 game losing streak. Both teams have been struggling this season, and both would be looking to turn their season around. For the Flames that means building some more momentum off their win against the Jets, for Columbus that means rectifying a 7-0 loss to the Oilers the previous night.
On The Line
The Flames have an opportunity to get 2 wins in a row, something they have only done once this season. The only time they won 2 games in a row was on Oct 9th and 11th when they beat the Canadiens and Devils, both by a 3-2 count. Calgary will want to keep building their momentum from a solid win in Winnipeg.
Both teams had a bit of jump in the first period but not much was happening as the puck seemed to be bouncing around all ober the place. 6 minutes into the first period Dennis Wideman takes a penalty for holding. On the ensuing power-play, a nice passing play would end up on the stick of Jack Johnson, who had a wide open net to shoot at. Flames rookie netminder Reto Berra would make an incredible pad save by sliding cross crease and kicking the puck out of the air. Not long after the penalty expired Columbus would draw first blood when a Nick Foligno shot deflects off the skate of T.J. Brodie and into the top corner. Neither team would get any sustained offensive pressure for most of the period. The period plays out rather unspectacularily and Columbus would take a 1-0 lead heading into the second.
The beginning of the second was a continuation of the first, both teams playing unspecatularily and trying to limit their mistakes. The Flames finally started to show some life 12 minutes into the second. Matt Stajan would feed Lee Stempniak out in the slot, only to be denied by Sergei Bobrovsky. Then Mike Cammalleri would hit the post and his rebound would land right on the stick of Stempniak in the slot, but Bobrovsky would make a big save to keep the game 1-0.
The Flames came out with some jump in the third period. A long pass from Kris Russell would bounce through a few players and onto the stick of Joe Colborne, who would have a partial break and use his huge frame to protect the puck, and fire a backhand top corner to break Bobrovsky’s shutout bid and tie the game up at 1. The Flames would continue their strong play, out shooting the Blue Jackets 7-0 over the course of the first 7 minutes in the 3rd. The rest of the period would see 5 shots combined as both teams shut it down defensively to send it into overtime.
OT would be a little back and forth until the Flames T.J. Brodie turned the puck over at the Columbus blue-line. The Flames would scramble to get back into position, with Berra making a very good first save, but eventually a blocked shot would wind up on the stick of Nikita Nikitin who would make no mistake with a wide open net, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 OT victory.
1.Nikita Nikitin: Had the game winner in OT and an assist to go along with a big shot block and strong defensive play.
2.Sergei Bobrovsky: Was not tested too much tonight, but made the saves he needed too and bounced back after a horrible game in Edmonton where he let in 4 goals on 22 shots.
3.Kris Russell: Probably the best player on the ice for the Flames tonight. The Flames defenseman was the jack of all trades today with an assist to go along with 2 hits, 3 blocked shots, and 22:32 minutes of ice time.
Early in the first period, with Dennis Wideman in the penalty box, Reto Berra would get the crowd buzzing with a ridiculous pad save. Sliding across the crease with the Jack Johnson staring at a wide open net, Berra would kick the puck out of mid air to keep the game at 0’s.
Going to give this one to a goalie of all people. Late in the third with Nick Foligno charging into the crease, Berra would stand his ground, slam into Foligno and pin him to the ground.
Tonight was an off night for T.J. Brodie. He seemed to be fighting the puck a little bit, giving the puck away 3 times including the give-away that started the play for the Columbus O.T. winner.
Maybe I’m giving too much love to the Blue Jackets defender but I thought Nikita Nikitin had a really strong game. He stood up his blueline really well, which resulted in a lot of Flames turnovers. His O.T. game winner was very much being in the right place at the right time.
Odds and Ends
Flames Rookie Report! Joe Colborne had a nice goal, but other than that had a rather underwhelming game. I would like to see him use his size more along the boards. Sean Monahan and Sven Baertschi both had moments where they looked very good, and played some pretty good defense as well which is nice to see. Would still like to see Baertschi shoot more, but that will come with time… Loved David Jones game tonight. He went to the net hard and finished his checks. Finished the night with 8 hits… All in all, outside of Berra’s big save, this was a pretty uneventful game. It isn’t that both teams were playing bad, it’s that both teams seemed tentative with the puck and it created a lot of turnovers and blocked shots… Only 3 penalties were called tonight. It’s a shame that in a game where the ref’s put the whistles away we get a game where neither team can get any offense going…
The Flames continue their home stand Friday night against the Florida Panthers at 7pm on Sportsnet west.
Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Galiardi – Colborne – Jones
Bouma – Backlund – McGratton
Russell – Brodie
Butler – Wideman
Smid – O’Brien