Taking the Hawks to the wire in their own barn is always a noble feat and one that would be a moral victory if not for heightened expectations and a belief that the club was playoff bound.
A late goal, and a failure to find that come from behind magic once again had the Flames loser by a score of 2-1. Now they dust themselves off, and return home with a five game losing streak and something to prove.
Better first period than I expected to be honest, as the Flames held their own on the shot clock, and also in the flow of play. Calgary gets in a little trouble at times in their own zone, but each team get a great chance … Andrew Shaw in close foiled by Hiller, and then David Jones hits the goal post.
The second period starts a little more sketchy for the Flames as the Hawks push the play and have the visitors reeling in their own zone. To their credit though, they settled in, and then actually went ahead when Johnny Gaudreau found Hudler as the late guy in a 3 on 2 that turned into a 4 on 2 to make it 1-0 Calgary. The Hawks tie the score just 6 seconds into a powerplay created when Dennis Wideman grabbed a hold of Toews; 1-1 through 2 periods, and pretty much exactly where the Flames wanted to be.
Just about the worst start of a period that you could map out with the Flames on their heels and just taking body shots from the Hawks through the period’s first ten minutes. They survive somehow, and the game remains tied through 17 minutes until Gaudreau blew a tire and caught his teammates flat footed, the turnover resulting in the go ahead goal and game winner. The Flames kill off a late penalty and then pull the goalie and go to work but can’t find the equalizer.
1.Jonathan Toews:Chicago captain sets up both Hawk goals to pace his squad to yet another victory.
2.Antti Raanta: Was solid in turning aside 23 of 24 shots directed at him by the Flames
3.Johnny Gaudreau: Made a great pass to set up Hudler on Calgary’s only goal, and had two or three other highlight moments with the puck as he continues to prove he’s a star at this level.
Andrew Shaw forces Jonas Hiller to stretch right out but the Swiss goaltender on his front keeps his right pad on the line and preventing what looked like an easy goal.
Mark Giordano. Not sure I’ve ever hung this category on him, but in a 1-1 tie you simply can’t skate past two Hawk forwards as the only guy back. Sure Gaudreau lost an edge and created the turn over, but it wouldn’t have been a two on nobody if he didn’t get carried away on the rush.
I liked Joe Colborne’s game tonight, after being tough on him in Pittsburgh. Was good to see a return to his dominance on the wall down low, and his chemistry with Granlund on the club’s third line. Had three shots, four hits and 16 minutes of ice time.
Odds and Ends
With Hiller losing in Pittsburgh I wouldn’t have come back to him tonight in Chicago. Yes he single handedly beat the Hawks in Chicago earlier this season, but why help write that “not this time!” story? In the end Hiller was solid, so it certainly wasn’t a bad call. … Hope the Stewart to Calgary rumours are either not true, or that they tread carefully at least. That kind of player could be dangerous to a locker room. He’s not known for being cancerous necessarily, but a guy that ritually doesn’t show up is still a bad acorn to add to the forest. … Must have been an interesting game for Johnny Gaudreau, as the last time they came to Chicago he was invisible, and then scratched the next game, while back home in Calgary the media had him heading to Adirondack. This time? The most noticeable Calgary forward on the ice, and a big second period assist, and then the blown tire turn over goal that results in the game winner. Hey, far form invisible! … Thought Brodie and Giordano took a huge step back towards their exceptional “norm” of the first 28 games or so, poised in their own zone, out letting passes, and joining the rush. Great bounce back game. … Had to be hard on Brandon Bollig to be scratched with the game in Chicago, but still a call I would have made as well. … Well they’re still in a playoff spot, but now tied with the Jets and Kings for the 7th-9th because of a five game skid. They’ll have to right the ship on Tuesday if they want to remain in the top eight. Calgary officially holds the top wild card spot because of 17 victories compared to the other two club’s 15. The Jets play the Sabres on Tuesday, the Kings play the Blues. … Want a pick me up? Emile Poirier scored a goal and added an assist as the Adirondack Flames beat the Iowa Stars tonight in AHL action. Bill Arnold added the other goal. Poirier is tied for 1st in team scoring having played 5 less games then the still surprising Ben Hanowski. Will be interesting to see if he gets a look in Calgary. Speaking of Hanowski, hands up .. how many had him a) first in team scoring near Xmas b) ahead of Agostino in point production in pro hockey?
Tough 4 game road trip is done, the Flames return to Calgary to take on the Rangers on Tuesday night, game time 7pm.
Curtis Glencross – Sean Monahan – David Jones
Johnny Gaudreau – Josh Jooris – Jiri Hudler
Joe Colborne – Markus Granlund – Paul Byron
Brandon Bollig – Matt Stajan – Mason Raymond
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
Deryk Engellend – Raphi Diaz