It’s one thing to completely demolish a team when your opponent is one of the worst teams in the league. But it’s another to win against one of the best teams in the league.
The Calgary Flames hoped to do just that against the San Jose Sharks, in the wake of their 8-1 rout of the Edmonton Oilers. And although the Flames still did manage to put one in the win column, this victory did not come so easily.
The Sharks bit first, late in the first period with a goal from James Shepperd. With Antti Niemi taking the night off, backup goaltender Alex Stalock stopped all 17 of the Flames’ attempts at evening up the score throughout the first and most of the second period.
It was Joe Colborne who finally cracked Stalock, with less than two minutes left in the second. Taking a feed from Tyler Wotherspoon, Colborne slid the puck into the Sharks’ net and putting the Flames back in the game.
Despite the Sharks’ efforts to regain their lead (San Jose outshot Calgary 10-5 in the final frame), the score remained tied. With one point guaranteed, the Sharks secured a playoff position as the game headed into overtime.
Both teams were held to two shots on goal for the duration of the OT period, but it only took three rounds in the shootout and one man to settle the score. Karri Ramo denied Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and James Shepperd, and Joe Colborne and Jiri Hudler were stoped, but Mike Cammalleri ripped a shot past Stalock to give the Flames the 2-1 win.
Another team looking to clinch a playoff spot faced off against the Flames on Wednesday night. This time, it was the Anaheim Ducks, and this time, they were hoping to avoid a similar outcome to their last game in the Saddledome. And while they did manage to pull out a win, it wasn’t exactly the type of high-scoring victory that would erase the sting of a 7-2 loss to the same team just weeks before.
The first goal of the game and the lone goal of the first period came courtesy of Nick Bonino, with a minute and three seconds left before the buzzer sounded.
Calgary retaliated in the second with two unanswered goals by Brian McGrattan and Jiri Hudler. The Flames’ lead was short-lived, however. Mathieu Perreault and Andrew Cogliano both managed to put pucks past Karri Ramo in the third, and the game ended in a 3-2 Ducks win over the home team.
The New York Rangers were on a roll, and with a tight race for a playoff spot in the Eastern conference, the Broadway Blueshirts desperately needed a win against the Flames on Friday night to keep them in the running.
Cue the Calgary Flames’ new role as a spoiler team.
The Flames came out blazing to start the game. Within the first five minutes of the opening frame, a cross-checking penalty to Derek Dorsett gave the Flames the perfect opportunity to grab the first lead of the game. And capitalize on that opportunity they did. On a pass from TJ Brodie, Joe Colborne notched his 10th goal of the season, beating Henrik Lundqvist and putting the Flames up 1-0. Mark Giordano added to the lead with a wrister of his own before the end of the period.
The second period saw a barrage of offense from both teams, with three back-to-back goals from Brian Boyle, Raphael Diaz and Brad Richards to erase the Flames’2-0 lead. Kevin Westgarth managed to beat Lundqvist at the midway point of the second to knot the score at 3, and with just eight seconds left in the period, Mike Cammalleri beat him again to regain the Flames’ lead.
Though the Rangers battled hard in the third, doubling up on the Flames in shots on net, neither team could slip any pucks past the opposing goalie, and the boys in red narrowly escaped with a 4-3 win.
Week 23 of the Calgary Flames’ season was a memorable one for #23 on the team.
In general, Sean Monahan is having a remarkable first season in the NHL, but against the Ottawa Senators, the 19-year old matched a record the Calgary Flames franchise hasn’t seen in almost two decades.
Monahan became the first forward since Jarome Iginla to reach 20 goals in his rookie season when he scored against Senators netminder Robin Lehner at the halfway point of the game. (Meanwhile in the east, 36-year old Iginla is still breaking records in Boston, becoming one of the few players to have had 12 career 30+ goal seasons.)
Monahan’s 20th of the season came at the 7:05 mark of the second period, giving the Flames a 3-2 lead over the Sens. Paul Byron and Matt Stajan scored the first two goals for Calgary, while Milan Michalek’s pair of goals kept them neck-in-neck throughout the first half of the game.
The Senators went on to score three unanswered goals and added an empty-netter after Monahan’s milestone, besting the Flames 6-3.
The month of April holds only seven games for the Flames to play in the regular season, beginning with a matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, April 1st.
Graduate of Mount Royal University’s Journalism program and a freelance sports writer from Calgary, Alberta.