5 games road trips are never easy. The current 5 game road trip for the Calgary Flames is no exception. Having just played a hard fought game against the Bruins where the Flames came up short, and taking a really late flight out of Boston, the Flames lace ’em up against a team that spent year after year at the top of the Western Conference, before switching conferences, the Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings are absolutely ravaged with injuries, with numerous key players out, so if the Flames want to turn their road trip into a success (currently 1-1-1) tonight is a good opportunity to do that. Despite Detroit’s injuries and their struggles this season, this is still a team with a Red Wings team that is extremely skilled and well coached so the Flames will have to put their work pants on today and keep with their mantra of the season, out work the opposition.
On The Line
The Flames are on a 2 game losing streak, so I’m sure they would like to stop that dead in its tracks. There are also a couple players who would like to break out of slumps, like Cammalleri who has be held pointless in 5 straight games.
It did not take long for the Red Wings to strike. The struggling Red Wings, who are devastated with injuries right now, just needed 26 seconds as the puck bounces off of Sean Monahan and right onto the stick of Daniel Alfredsson, who buried it into the wide open net. The Next shift Mark Giordano tried to get the Flames going with a big hit on Red Wings youngster Thomas Tartar. The Flames would take advantage 5 minutes later when a Mike Cammalleri shot bounced off the back boards and in front of the net where Mikael Backlund would win a race and lift the puck just over the pad of Jonas Gustovsson to tie the game at 1. The rest of the period settled down and finished with the teams tied at 1.
Not a whole lot happened the first half of this period, so lets fast forward. Just after a Flames PP expires, the Red Wings march into the Flames zone. Alfredsson unleashed a monster shot from the blueline that Joakim Andersson tips past Karri Ramo to give the Red Wings their second lead of the game. The next shift Ladislav Smid takes a penalty for cross-checking. On the ensuing PP Detroit looks like they score to give them a 3 goal lead, but on the replay the puck bounces off Ramo’s pad, of the bottom of the cross bar and back into the blue paint, and the goal is overturned. With Smid in the box still, Tomas Jurco trips of Giordano and gets 2 minutes. The next shift Brendan Smith sticks his leg out to trip up T.J. Brodie, giving Calgary a 4 on 3 for 16 seconds and a 5 for over a minute. Before the 5 on 3 is out Jonathan Ericsson takes another Detroit penalty. Calgary would be unable to take advantage of the 5 on 3 but would get a power-play goal from Mark Giordano, who rifled it top corner to tie the game up at 2.
The pace picked up big time in the third. The Flames were buzzing early but were unable to take the lead. Detroit would turn the puck up the other way and get some sustained offensive pressure of their own, getting a couple chances but would also be unable to take the lead. The back and forth continued for most of the period. With less than a minute left in the period Pavel Datsyuk splits the D and draws a penalty. The Flames are able to kill the rest of the period but are unable to kill it off completely. With the game in overtime and T.J. Brodie still in the box for hooking Datsyuk sets up Daniel Alfredsson for the game winning goal sending Calgary to their second straight O.T. loss.
1.Pavel Datsyuk: Best player on the ice tonight. Won important faceoffs in the offensive and defensive zone. Often the first forward back defensively and was a driving force offensively notching 3 assists.
2.Daniel Alfredsson: Scored the opening goal of the game and the game winning goal and assisted on another. He looked 10 years younger out there tonight.
3.Mike Cammalleri: Had a rough 5 game stretch that forced Bob Hartley to switch up his line mates, and it definitely worked as he registered 2 asssits and a lot of hard work.
Karri Ramo made some good saves after the Flames went down 1-0 to keep Calgary in it, but the biggest save is was his goal line stop in the second. With the Flames down 2-1 on on the penalty kill, Ramo fires his left pad out, which knocked the puck into the bottom of the crossbar and back down into the blue paint. A little lucky for sure but Ramo also had the right mind to get his pad out despite looking down and out on the play. Also big because it kept the Flames within 1 and they were able to tie it up not long after on a PP of their own.
With the Flames down early, Mark Giordano took it upon himself to get some momentum going. Tomas Tartar came down the boards with a good fore-check but was stopped in his tracks when Giordano steam rolled him in the corner. This hit got the Flames into the game and they were able to get the tying goal minutes later.
T.J. Brodie had a pretty bad game tonight that was topped off with a late 3rd period penalty. Detroit capitalizes on the PP in over-time.
Pavel Datsyuk. Do I need to say more? …Oh. I do? OK. Well he had a 3 point game, was a force in all 3 zones, drew a late penalty and set up the game winning goal. Guy was absolutely amazing, one of the most complete players in the league.
Odds and Ends
I’m developing a man crush on Paul Byron (No homo). The guy is tiny but throws people much bigger than him around, is fast, and has really good hands. His hockey IQ allows him to play in all situations. Burke wanted truculence and he is getting some from the smallest player on the team… Is it just me or are the boards in Detroit funky? There’s just a lot of funny bounces off them… Ramo started the game a bit scramble..y…(Scrambley. Yes that will do) but really settled down and played a solid game. The guy is easily the most consistent goalie the Flames have had all season… Backlund has been much better since being challenged to be more offensive. He was always a solid contributor defensively, but has now added that aggression to his offensive game. Lets hope he keeps it up… Sean Monahan had a very quiet game tonight. It will be interesting to see if Hartley lets him work through it on the ice or finally give him a night in the press box eating some popcorn…
The Flames finish their 5 game road trip with a stop off in Pittsburgh. The Flames play the Penguins at 11 am on Saturday and can be seen on Sportsnet West.
Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Cammalleri – Backlund – D. Jones
Byron – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – McGrattan
Russell – Brodie
Giordano – Smid
Butler – O’Brien