One week after Jarome Iginla’s emotional return to Calgary, the Flames and Bruins faced each other once again. This time it was in Boston, and this time it was all business. The Flames were looking to avenge their previous 2-1 loss to the Bruins, but it wasn’t going to be easy against a team who had just won five of their last six games, with a home record of 11-0-2 in their past 13 games.
Iginla once again garnered a lot of attention during the matchup, but for completely different reasons. The former Flames captain picked up two assists in the night, helpers that lifted the Bruins to a 2-0 win over Calgary.
The first goal came a little under the halfway mark of the second period. On the man advantage from a high-sticking penalty to Lance Bouma, Zdeno Chara took a feed from David Krejci (Iginla was credited the secondary assist) and sent a one-timer soaring past Reto Berra.
The same three Bruins came together for Chara’s second goal of the night early in the third period. Coincidentally, the goal was scored on another Bruins powerplay, after Bouma was once again sent to the box for a high-sticking penalty.
Tuukka Rask’s 21 saves of the night earned him his third shutout of the season, and the Bruins took the W for the second time against the Flames.
Known as the “Flame-killers” for their consistent ousting of the Calgary Flames in playoff attempts past, the Detroit Red Wings set out to maintain their reputation on Thursday night, despite having six regular forwards out due to injury.
But unfortunately for Calgary, the Red Wings had Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson, who both had multi-point nights and were responsible for Detroit’s eventual overtime victory.
Alfredsson opened up the scoring just 26 seconds into the game. Five minutes later, another Swede found the back of the net, but this time it was Mikael Backlund for the Flames, notching his fifth of the season.
Midway through the second, Alfredsson and Datsyuk fed the puck to Joakim Andersson to beat Karri Ramo and grab the lead once again.
Three consecutive penalties to Detroit finally resulted in a powerplay goal for the Flames, with less than five minutes left to play in the second. Mark Giordano’s wrister tied things up at 2 by the end of the period.
The final 20 minutes produced no goals from either team, although Detroit certainly outplayed Calgary in an effort to come out with the regulation win.
The game went into overtime and Daniel Alfredsson ended the extra frame just as quickly as he began the game. His powerplay slapshot lifted the Red Wings to the victory, a much-needed boost for the injury-plagued team who had just come off of six straight losses.
With one point of a potential four under their belts, the Calgary Flames moved on to Pittsburgh to try and earn a couple more before ending their five-game road trip.
Getting two points against one of the most dominating teams in the league with the best player in the game as their captain is one of the most daunting tasks the Calgary Flames could have faced to end their road trip. And although the Pittsburgh Penguins predictably emerged victorious, the Flames put up a decent fight and played a relatively good game.
The Penguins’ top line (and arguably the line with the best chemistry in the NHL) struck first. Pascal Dupuis, with helpers from Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby, shot a backhander past Karri Ramo to give the Pens their first lead of the game.
Then an unassuming and unrecognized name doubled Pittsburgh’s lead, courtesy of 26-year old Harrison Zolnierczyk.
Just under the halfway mark of the second, the Calgary Flames offense was finally able to beat Marc-Andre Fleury. Paul Byron’s slapshot cut the Pens’ lead in half.
Sidney Crosby retaliated with a slapshot of his own not long after, and with only a minute left in the second period, assisted on Matt Niskanen’s goal. Crosby’s three-point night extended his point streak to 10 games and protecting his title as the league’s points leader with 54.
In the dying seconds of the second, Mike Cammalleri brought the Flames to within two.
And although Jiri Hudler pushed to close the gap completely, scoring his tenth goal of the season to bring the Flames to within one, Fleury stopped all 12 of Calgary’s attempts to tie the game, and the Penguins topped the Flames 4-3.
The opponents don’t get any easier for the Flames as they return home and face the surging Alexander Steen and the St. Louis Blues on Monday, December 23.
Stay tuned for Week Thirteen of The Flames Files and follow the Calgary Flames’ progress in the 2013-2014 season.