With one of the league’s most consistent scoring leaders in recent years on their roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning paid a visit to the Saddledome on Tuesday night with the intent of bombarding the home team with a mass of offense. But although Steven Stamkos was on the ice, the game held a surprisingly low score, and even the shots on net were at a relative minimum.
Looking to win their second game in a row, the Flames held a slight edge over the Bolts in the first period, but Evgeni Nabokov had all the solutions to the home team’s attempts to open up the scoring.
The Bolts, missing several key players due to injury (and losing another one, Nikita Kucherov, mid-game) pushed back in the second, but also failed to beat Karri Ramo at the other end of the ice.
41 minutes were played before someone finally lit the lamp, and the first goal of the night and his third of the season came courtesy of Dennis Wideman.
Wideman’s goal was the lone tally throughout the third and just when it looked like Karri Ramo would get his first shutout of the season, Valteri Filppula’s wrist shot tied the game with less than two minutes to play in regulation.
What followed did not go in the Flames’ favour, as the Lightning dominated the extra frame, and although the lethal combination of Stamkos and highly skilled rookie Jonathan Drouin couldn’t seal the deal, Ondrej Palat’s rebounder did at the three minute mark.
The Flames picked up one point in a 2-1 loss to the Lightning.
The Flames hosted the Carolina Hurricanes the following Thursday, this time with Jonas Hiller between the posts. And this time, the Flames’ bid for a shutout was fulfilled as Hiller made 16 saves to blank the hapless Hurricanes.
Lacking the star power of both the Staal brothers (Eric with an upper-body injury and Jordan with a broken leg), the Canes hoped to nab their first win of the season. But Hiller, Dennis Wideman, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma stymied their efforts in a flurry of goals and a big win.
Wideman scored his third goal in as many games late in the first and Stajan opened up the second (just 32 seconds in) with a slapshot to beat Cam Ward.
Shortly after, off a feed from Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan finally got his elusive first goal. And in an attempt to prove to his doubters that the19-year old isn’t experiencing a sophomore slump, Monahan added a second goal to the scoreboard early in the third.
Lance Bouma tipped in Josh Jooris’ shot minutes later and the Flames buried the winless Hurricanes 5-0.
Facing another member of the NHL’s elite, the Flames played the third of their five-game home stand against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
With five goals already to his name, Alex Ovechkin came into the game chasing a few more, but with only one shot on goal (which happened to have been easily stopped by Karri Ramo) the ‘Great 8’ was held off the scoreboard for the entire night.
On the home team’s bench, defenseman Dennis Wideman matched Ovechkin’s count with his team-leading fifth of the season (tied with Mason Raymond), giving the Flames their only goal of the game.
Luckily for the Caps, Joel Ward showed up to play, and his two goals (one midway through the first, and the game winner coming early in the second) awarded the visitors the night’s victory.
Nicklas Backstrom added a wrister in for good measure, just under a minute into the third, and the Flames dropped their Hockey Night In Canada matchup 3-1.
Stay tuned for Week Four of The Flames Files and follow the Calgary Flames’ progress in the 2014-2015 season.
Graduate of Mount Royal University’s Journalism program and a freelance sports writer from Calgary, Alberta.