In a battle of two young goaltenders, the one who came out on top was able to add to his list of 57 wins in the Pengrowth Saddledome. And it wasn’t Calgary Flames rookie Joni Ortio.
The L.A. Kings’ backup goalie Martin Jones was the starter on Monday, March 10, and looked completely at ease as he faced the 26 shots the Flames sent at him throughout the game. Formerly of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, Jones played four seasons in the Dome, and his comfort level in the arena certainly contributed to the Kings’ win over the home team.It was all L.A. for the majority of the game, although a late push by the Flames prevented Jones from earning a shutout on old ice.
Justin Williams opened up the scoring less than five minutes into the game, and at the midway point of the first period, Trevor Lewis tipped in another goal to put the Kings 2-0.
The Kings outshot the Flames 12-7 in the second period, but Ortio was able to stop all twelve shots. However, Anze Kopitar managed to beat Ortio with just over ten minutes left in the game, seemingly sealing the Flames’ fate.
Facing a three goal deficit, it took a Mike Richards penalty to finally get the Flames on the board. As Richards sat in the box for a delay-of-game, Mike Cammalleri deflected a shot from Mark Giordano and put the puck past Jones.
Shortly after, Brian McGrattan cut the deficit to one, with his second goal in as many games.
Unfortunately, the Flames were unable to beat Jones one more time as the clock wound down, and they fell to the Kings 3-2.
The Flames hosted the second-best team in the eastern conference two days after their loss to L.A. With two of their best players sitting in the top ten in the scoring race, the Anaheim Ducks have been dominating the 2013-2014 season thus far. Needless to say, the mood was somewhat apprehensive in the Saddledome, with Flames fans anticipating a loss. But what ensued during the following 60 minutes (pleasantly) surprised not only the fans in the building but everyone who watched the Ducks get routed by the 26th-place Flames.
Three unanswered goals in the first half of the first period sent Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller to the bench pretty quickly, and 24-year old Frederik Andersen took over in net for the remainder of the game.
The change of goaltenders did not help Anaheim, however, and Andersen saw his fair share of the Flames’ explosive offense.
Mikael Backlund closed out the first period with a goal to bring the Flames up 4-0, and opened up the second period with his second of the game, and 15th of the season.
Andrew Cogliano was able to crack Joni Ortio at the halfway mark of the game, and once again, Ortio’s bid for his first NHL shutout was stymied.
Taking a feed from Paul Byron, Ladislav Smid restored the Flames’ 4-goal lead in the dying minutes of the second.
And although the Ducks’ Nick Bonino was able to add another tally for his team with just over ten minutes left in the game, it was too little too late (literally) for Anaheim to spring a comeback.
With his very first NHL goal, Corban Knight’s slapshot turned the lights out on Andersen and the Ducks, and the Flames emerged the victors of the game, with a score of 7-2.
The Flames headed to Dallas riding high off of their absolute domination of the Ducks, looking to record a second consecutive win. But it didn’t look too promising for the visiting team for the first half of the game. Though the opening frame was kept scoreless by Joey MacDonald and Tim Thomas on either end of the ice, it was the Stars who struck first, early in the second period.
Antoine Roussel’s wrister came just 13 seconds into the second period, but was answered back five minutes later by Mike Cammalleri. In the wake of all of the rumours prior to the NHL trade deadline, Cammalleri has been stepping up his play, with a goal in each of his last two games.
Two goals from Dallas, from Jamie Benn and Erik Cole, reinstated the Stars’ lead as the second period closed out.
To attest to the blue-collar work ethic quickly becoming an attribute of the rebuilding Flames, a two-goal deficit didn’t deflate the team. In the last ten minutes of the game, Paul Byron scored on a powerplay and Mike Cammalleri notched his second of the night, tying the game and forcing an OT period.
The extra frame solved nothing, with only one shot on net for either team.
Four rounds were needed in the ensuing shootout, with Jamie Benn, Joe Colborne, Colton Sceviour and Mike Cammalleri all being stopped by the opposing goaltenders. And although Jordie Benn managed to put one past Joey MacDonald, Tyler Seguin could not and from Sean Monahan and Corban Knight’s shootout goals, the Flames overcame a 3-1 deficit and won the game 4-3.
The Flames looked to return to Calgary with three straight wins under their belt, but with their last game of the week in Phoenix, the Coyotes did not oblige.
Phoenix bested the Flames both in shots on net and in goals in the first period, but their 2-goal lead didn’t last long into the second. Two costly penalties (for holding and hooking by Derek Morris and Antoine Vermette, respectively) gave the Flames the opportunity to stage another comeback.
In his third game back after being out with a high-ankle sprain, Curtis Glencross brought his team to within one, and shortly after, Mikael Backlund evened up the score with a powerplay goal of his own.
Unfortunately, it was a penalty to Backlund midway through the third that cost the Flames the game, as the Coyotes regained the lead with a powerplay goal from Shane Doan.
Calgary could not beat Mike Smith with ten minutes left in the third period, and fell to the Coyotes 3-2.
The Flames return to Calgary and face the last-place Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, March 18th.
Graduate of Mount Royal University’s Journalism program and a freelance sports writer from Calgary, Alberta.