Fresh off a big Battle of Alberta win, the Calgary Flames flew to Minnesota to face off against the Wild, with a new “kid” line in tow.
It was a particularly special game for one of the kids, Markus Granlund, who was recalled by the Flames for the second time due to numerous injuries on Calgary’s roster. The 20-year old Finn played his very first NHL game against his older brother Mikael, who is currently on his second season with the Wild.
And although both Granlunds played well throughout the game (Markus with one assist and Mikael with two) it was the elder of the brothers who ended up with the victory.
The Wild opened up the scoring midway through the game, thanks to a wrister by Kyle Brodziak that beat Reto Berra.
As if he was looking to show his team’s management why he shouldn’t be shipped off prior to trade deadline day, Mike Cammalleri answered back shortly after, tying the game at one.
A hooking penalty early in the third period by Mikael Backlund put the Wild on the powerplay, and Jared Spurgeon wasted no time capitalizing on the man advantage. Captain Zach Parise doubled Minnesota’s lead with less than five minutes left to go in the game.
The other captain on the ice, Mark Giordano, brought the game to within one, scoring his 10th goal of the season at 16:01.
Despite being the better team throughout the game and a late period push to get themselves back into the game, the Flames fell to the Wild in regulation, 3-2.
The trade deadline day came and went with more activity for the Flames this season than it has in the past few under Jay Feaster. Just hours before the Flames hosted the Ottawa Senators at the Saddledome, Brian Burke announced the trades of goaltender Reto Berra and winger Lee Stempniak to the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins, for second and third round draft picks, respectively.
The upcoming addition of more young blood to the team seemed to have an immediate effect on the Flames, whose younger players shone on the ice and contributed largely to their win over the Sens.
Markus Granlund scored his first NHL goal two minutes into the first period, assisted by Max Reinhart. Joni Ortio stopped all nine of the Senators’ shots on net in the first, and went on to shut the door on Jason Spezza and company throughout the entire second period.
24-year olds Paul Byron and Joe Colborne padded the Flames’ lead in the second, and a powerplay goal halfway through the third by Mike Cammalleri ensured a big two points for Calgary.
Although Ortio did not get to experience his first NHL shutout due to a goal by Kyle Turris at 10:24 of the third, he did make an impressive 30 saves, leading the team to a 4-1 win over Ottawa.
The younger players on the Flames roster combined for 5 points in the game (Sean Monahan was credited with assists on two of the goals) and dominated the Senators, who have not yet won a game against the Flames this season.
Legends were abound in the Saddledome on Friday night as the Flames honoured former captain Joe Nieuwendyk prior to their matchup against the New York Islanders.
Not only were Lanny McDonald, Joel Otto, Mike Vernon, Jim Peplinski, Al Coates and several members of the Stanley Cup winning team in 1989 in attendance, but the Cup itself was in the building.
But it wasn’t just the presence of such legends that made the night so electric. It was the come-from-behind win, orchestrated by the team’s rookies, as the Flames beat the Islanders 4-3.
It was once again Markus Granlund who got his team on the scoreboard first, at almost the exact time he scored his goal the game before.
But three unanswered goals by the Islanders put a damper on the night, and with less than half of the period left in the third, it looked like Joe Nieuwendyk and the rest of his alum would not get to watch their former team win.
Cue the comeback, Colborne.
With his sixth goal of the season, Joe Colborne brought the Flames’ deficit to within one, and reawakened the rest of the team. Minutes later, Sean Monahan netted a backhander to tie the game at 3.
Colborne started the comeback, and he finished the game. Just a minute after Monahan’s game-tying tally, Colborne scored his second of the night, the game-winning goal, and the Flames capped off an emotional night with a thrilling win.
Perhaps the biggest buzz of the trade deadline day came from the Vancouver Canucks, when they traded goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers. The team, who has been struggling of late with injuries to their best players, had dropped four of their last five games prior to squaring off against the Flames on Saturday night.
But with new (permanent) starting goalie Eddie Lack in net, the Canucks managed to pull off a much-needed win.
The last time the two teams came together, a line brawl broke out before the game even started, and John Tortorella made an attempt to go after Brian McGrattan and his fellow teammates in the Flames dressing room.
There certainly wasn’t as much excitement this time around, but McGrattan did get his name on the board by scoring the first goal of the night, early in the second period.
The Flames’ lead didn’t last long, however, as Darren Archibald evened up the score with his first goal of the season. Yannick Weber put the Canucks ahead five minutes into the third, with an assist from Shawn Matthias, who was part of the acquisition from Florida as a result of the Luongo trade.
Lack made 23 saves to keep his team in the lead, and the Canucks ended their losing skid with a 2-1 win over their division rivals.
The Flames have a tough week ahead as they host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night, and then the hot Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.