The Montreal Canadiens haven’t had much success in the Saddledome in recent years, even with the help of one of the league’s best goaltenders minding their net. But on Tuesday night the Habs looked to snap their nine-game losing streak in Calgary and Carey Price was the man who made it happen.
On the other end of the ice, Jonas Hiller was not to be outdone himself, and both goalies were spectacular to start the night, keeping the game scoreless throughout the entire first period.
Things appeared to be going in the Flames’ favour early in the second, with Mark Giordano scoring his second goal of the season just two minutes in. The American-born “Johnny Hockey” was credited with the helper, along with TJ Brodie. Although still early in the season, Johnny Gaudreau has been relatively quiet on the ice, still working to live up to his nickname, whereas TJ Brodie has started off the year with a bang and quickly earned himself a five-year contract extension with the Flames.
The Flames came at Price with a barrage of shots in the second, outshooting Montreal 16-5, but of those five shots made, all it took was one by defenseman Tom Gilbert to knot the game at one.
Once again, the goalies stole the show throughout the final period, and despite having three powerplay chances to score the go-ahead goal, none of the boys in red could beat Price, and the game headed into overtime.
It was a hot night for Carey Price, to say the least. The gold-medal-winning Olympian had made 37 saves during regulation, and successfully stymied shootout attempts by Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
On the other hand, Hiller was not quite as successful, and although he managed to stop Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais from scoring, he couldn’t stop the puck from leaving P.A. Parentau’s stick and going into the back of the net.
In their first win in Calgary since 2002, the Canadiens beat the Flames 2-1.
With at least one point in tow, the Flames had a few days to regroup before hosting the Nashville Predators on Friday night. And there was something about this particular Halloween night that sparked the Flames’ youth movement, led by two of the team’s most talked-about youngsters, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
Again, Hiller started his night on a high note, and along with Pekka Rinne, combined for 18 saves to keep the scoreboard untouched throughout the opening frame.
A few seconds shy of the five-minute mark, Monahan took advantage of an interference call on Colin Wilson and took a feed from Dennis Wideman. Monahan’s wrister beat Rinne for the first goal of the game.
However, the Preds answered back in a timely manner (53 seconds later, to be exact) and Craig Smith’s goal had the game all tied up at one.
Hoping to replicate the scoring touch he had with Pittsburgh, James Neal put Nashville up ahead just over the halfway mark of the second.
The Predators wrapped up the second period up by one, but the Flames came out in a fury to start the third. In the span of four minutes, buzzing with determination, the home team scored three unanswered goals, courtesy of Jiri Hudler, TJ Brodie and Johnny Gaudreau.
With his second goal of the game, and his seventh of the season (showing doubters that he doesn’t necessarily need to be on a line with Evgeni Malkin to be able to produce), James Neal managed to bring the Preds to within one, but Hiller remained solid for the remainder of the third, and the Flames claimed the victory 4-3.
The Flames were given a second chance at beating their fellow Canadian team in the same week, this time at the historic Bell Centre in Quebec. But this was a very different game than the one played earlier in the week, in both goal production and goaltending.
Both Hiller and Price were in net once again (Hiller has now been officially named the Flames’ starting goalie for the season), but although Price was able to stop 30 of the shots he faced, he couldn’t stop six —yes, six— and the Habs suffered a brutal loss at home at the hands of the youth of the Calgary Flames.
The visiting team came out of the tunnel with a vengeance, spending the majority of the opening frame in the attacking zone and outshooting Montreal 16-4.
Just recently called up from the Adirondack Flames, Josh Jooris made a strong bid for a more permanent spot on the roster by scoring the first goal of the game, just under five minutes into the first period. Jooris continued his solid performance throughout the game, an extension of the solid play he showed during the preseason. In fact, it seems that Jooris does better on the big ice than he does in the minors. In two games played with the farm team, Jooris has recorded no goals or assists, and in the six he’s played with the Calgary Flames, has scored three goals and one assist.
Jooris’ third goal of the season was the fifth of the game on Sunday night. The others that came before his belonged to Markus Granlund (another recent farm team call-up), Curtis Glencross and Max Pacioretty.
Johnny Gaudreau and TJ Brodie added a pair of assists each to their personal scoresheet, and Lance Bouma contributed to the tally to bring the Flames’ total scoring to five.
Lars Eller managed to sneak a backhander past Hiller midway through the third, but it was too little too late for the Habs.
An empty-netter from the Flames captain sealed the deal and the Flames won their second matchup against the Canadiens with a whopping 6-2.
The Flames are on the road for four more games before coming back to the ‘Dome, beginning with a game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Stay tuned for Week Five of The Flames Files and follow the Calgary Flames’ progress in the 2014-2015 season.