The Flames got off to a slow start but were able to get their feet under them and put forth another solid effort tonight.
The Stars got on board first on a bit of a stinker from Flames goalie Joey MacDonald but the Flames were able to battle back and tie the game up. The Flames kept it close for most of the game but a bad couple of minutes in the second period allowed the Stars to score 2 quick ones and take a 3-1 lead. The Flames though, much like herpes, just would not go away. Paul Byron notched a PP goal late in the third to get the Flames back to within one. The Flames would then complete the comeback when a shot from T.J. Brodie would land right in front of Mike Cammalleri for one of the easiest tap in goals of his career.
An extremely exciting back and forth overtime would solve nothing and the game would go to a shoot-out, where Corban Knight would beat Tim Thomas cleanly in the 4th round of the shoot-out to give the Flames the 4-3 comeback win over that Stars.
Joe Colborne had a big night with 2 assists, one of which came from a really strong play at the blueline which lead to the Flames tying goal. I love the way Joe Colborne is using his body to protect the puck. He is also making so nice little passes and using his size to create space. The kid is playing with some confidence right now and looks miles better than he did to start the year.
How could you have a ‘Difference Makers’ section and not include a guy who scored 2 goals including the game tying goal? You just can’t. Mike Cammalleri must be starting to make some play-off teams wish they had pulled the trigger with his recent rash of goals.
Got to give a shout out to Ladislav Smid for his huge defensive play in OT to keep the game going. Without him poking that puck away from Jamie Benn the game probably would have been over then and there.
Sean Monahan had a pretty quiet but very solid night tonight. Had a rough night in the face-off dot going 4/14 but made up for it in the shoot-out. With the game on the line Bob Hartley has no problems throwing him out there and Monahan rewarded his coaches decision with a big goal to extend the shoot-out.
Paul Byron was once again the little engine that could. His speed is impressive and his ability to play a physical game is almost unfathomable given his height.
Mikael Backlund played more of a shut-down role tonight and I thought he had a really strong game, making some nice moves offensively and skating hard to get back defensively.
T.J. Brodie lead all skaters tonight with 25 minutes of ice time, assisted on the game tying goal, and won several battles against a very strong and fast group of Dallas forwards.
Corban Knight and Ben Hanowski had some really good shifts playing with Kevin Westgarth. Both showed good speed and energy tonight and Corban Knight was able to cap his good night with the game winning goal in the shootout.
I noticed Tyler Wotherspoon a couple times tonight, all for positive plays he made defensively. It’s hard to believe he is only 20 years old as he is already showing a steadiness to his game that is well beyond his years.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Big night for the Flames on this front with the Islanders, Oilers, and Panthers all playing.
Florida used a big 3rd period to get a come from behind 5-3 victory on the Devils. The Oilers lost 2-1 in a shoot out to the Red wings. The Islanders ran out of time in their comeback bid and lost 4-3 to the Sharks.
The Flames are now solidly in 26th spot, 2 points up on the Islanders with a game in hand and 6 points back of the Hurricanes, who have a game in hand on the Flames.
The Dallas Stars fore-check extremely hard and play a very punishing game. If they make the playoffs they could be a handful for their first round opponent… I love the confidence McGratton is playing with right now. Ever since he scored from center ice against Lack he has been putting the puck on net every chance he gets. He also played a pretty good 2 way game today making a couple solid defensive plays in the early part of the first period when the Flames were having trouble dealing with the Stars big fore-check… Tim Thomas looks like Christmas patrolling the Stars crease. I like his style… I love how Bob Hartley is playing his young guys in a lot of different situations. He is leaning on his younger players when games are on the line and it is working wonders as all of the young players are showing lots of progression throughout the season…
The only roster change for the Flames tonight was Joey MacDonald getting the nod in net, giving Joni Ortio a much deserved night off.
Where Do They Go From Here?
The Flames finish off their quick 2 game road trip with a visit to Phoenix Saturday night to take on the Coyotes. Game time is 8PM and can be seen on CBC.