Lost in all the chaos and excitement of the trade deadline was the fact that the Flames had a game against the Ottawa Senators tonight.
Despite the almost lop-sided score the game was pretty back and forth for the most part. The Flames were able to get off to a quick start with Max Reinhart setting up Markus Granlund for his first career NHL goal just over 2 minutes into the first. The Flames would also get goals from youngsters Paul Byron and Joe Colborne in the second, and another goal from Mike Cammalleri in the third. Ottawa’s Kyle Turris would break Joni Ortio’s shut-out bid 10 minutes into the 3rd but the Flames were able to walk away with a 4-1 win off of another strong effort.
A lot of Flames played really well tonight and are worthy of mention here but I felt 2 players in particular were better than the rest.
Firstly Joni Ortio had himself one heck of a game tonight. No jitters, no scrambles, no bad rebounds. The kid made the saves that he needed to make and didn’t let a softy by. A really strong game for his first NHL win. You can see why management felt comfortable trading Reto Berra.
The second player I felt was a difference maker tonight was Paul Byron. Tonight he used his speed to set the pace for his line and had a couple chances early on the penalty kill before converting on a nice slap pass from Giordano for his first goal since before Christmas. He was physical, finishing his checks and getting involved in an almost fight while standing up for his team-mate after Hudler took a big hit. You couldn’t ask for anything more from the guy tonight.
Markus Granlund had a strong game, scoring his first career NHL goal and almost setting up a couple others.
Paul Byron was extremely dangerous tonight, using his speed to get a couple of really good chances short handed and scoring on a nice re-direct on a Flames PP.
Max Reinhart was all over the ice tonight, fore-checking and back-checking relentlessly. He made a really nice pass to set up Granlund for his goal.
Corban Knight and Ben Hanowski had pretty quiet nights but neither looked out of place. Knight had a couple clean face-off wins in the defensive zone.
Backlund, Monahan, Brodie and Bouma get the same praise they have been getting all year. That Lance Bouma is turning into quite the warrior.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Absolutely nothing on the scoreboard affects the Flames except for the Flames game itself. With the Flames win the Flames are sitting in 27th place, 2 points up on the Panthers and 1 point back of the Islanders.
Trade deadline day for Flames fans is usually pretty interesting to say the least and today was no different with both Flames trades coming through right before the deadline… I thought Brian Burke had a good trade deadline. It obviously would have been nice to see him ship out all the pending UFA’s for picks but I like how he didn’t take a garbage deal just to get something. Getting a 2nd for Reto Berra was an absolute steal and a 3rd for Lee Stempniak is about what most people expected. The thing that stands out to me the most is Burke didn’t try and force something by moving picks or prospects himself. All in all it was a good day for the Flames on the trade front, could have been a little better, could have been way worse… Joni Ortio played pretty good in his first NHL game, but I thought he looked almost surprised at the speed and size of the players at the NHL level. Tonight he was a lot calmer and absorbed almost everything that came his way… Got to love how Butler jumped in there to stand up for his team-mate after Hudler took a huge hit in the beginning of the 3rd period. Hudler would not return… Injuries piled up for the Flames tonight as they also lost Dennis Wideman to injury and almost lost Joe Colborne to injury in the 3rd period as he crashed awkwardly into the boards…
If you haven’t heard by now (like anyone reading this didn’t know today was the deadline) the Flames made a couple moves, shipping goalie Reto Berra to Colorado for a 2nd round pick and Lee Stempniak to Pittsburgh for a 3rd round pick. The Flames recalled Joey MacDonald and Ben Hanowski to take their roster spots. The Flames also re-called Corban Knight and Max Reinhart to replace the injured T.J. Galiardi and Matt Stajan, who is still away from the team for personal reasons.
Where Do They Go From Here?
The Flames finish off their quick 2 game home stand Friday night against the Islanders before heading out to Vancouver to play the Canucks in game 2 of the Hockey Night in Canada double header.