The Flames had a busy week leading up to the NHL All Star Weekend, starting with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings in sunny California on Monday, January 19th. Coming off of an exciting overtime win against the San Jose Sharks, the Flames had a slow start against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, only getting in three shots on goal in the first period, to the Kings’ ten. Albeit, starting goalie Joni Ortio was solid in that first period and in the second, making 27 saves in the first 40 minutes.
It wasn’t until midway through the third period that the Kings were able to beat Ortio, and it was a deflection off Jared Stoll’s stick that finally opened up the scoring for the home team.
But leave it to Sean Monahan to keep the Flames in the game. Three minutes after Stoll’s opening goal, the 20-year old stole the puck from Kings captain Dustin Brown and neatly tucked it into the back of the net to tie the game.
For the remainder of regulation, both Ortio and Jonathan Quick stayed on point, allowing neither team a go-ahead goal, and with one point in tow, the Flames headed to overtime.
The extra frame almost passed without a deciding goal if not for a bad giveaway by Justin Williams, which resulted in a flurry of shots on goal by the Flames. And it was Dennis Wideman who knocked back his 12th goal of the season to win the game in OT for the visiting team, 2-1.
The second Californian team to face off against the Flames put up a little bit more of a fight than the L.A. Kings the following Wednesday. The Anaheim Ducks, determined to make sure they remained undefeated at home against the Flames, won their 20th straight game in the Honda Center. And they did it with a vengeance, too.
Three unanswered goals in the first period, courtesy of Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon and Ben Lovejoy, saw the Ducks enjoying a comfortable lead coming into the second, which was then added to by former Flames winger Tim Jackman. Although Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan fired back shortly after to cut the Ducks’ lead in half, Ryan Getzlaf sounded the goal horn for the Ducks for the fifth time in under 50 minutes to put them up 5-2.
Joe Colborne retaliated a minute later to half the deficit once again, but no other Flame was able to get past Frederik Andersen, and an empty-netter in the last seconds of the game sealed the Flames’ fate 6-3.
The Flames will not have another chance to attempt a win in Anaheim this season.
After the 6-3 beating delivered to them, the Flames came home to an easy win over the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres. And an easy win it was, although it was the Sabres’ Chris Stewart who scored the first goal of the game. On a hooking call to Joe Colborne on Tyler Myers, the Sabres used their man-advantage to put themselves up by one, at the midway mark of the first period. But when Torrey Mitchell was called for holding against Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames bounced back with a powerplay goal of their own. Johnny Hockey’s 14th of the season tied the game at one before the end of the first.
The second period was a battle of the goaltenders, and both Jonas Enroth and Jonas Hiller kept the puck away from the back of their nets to retain the 1-1 tie.
However, the third period was an entirely different matter. Josh Jooris, Joe Colborne, and Johnny Gaudreau scored three back-to-back goals in final 20 minutes, and the Flames topped the Sabres 4-1.
Against the Minnesota Wild two days later, the Flames sought a second win in a row at home. And while Jonas Hiller was stellar, making 30 saves throughout the night, it only took one goal by Zach Parise in the first period to secure the Wild’s win at the Saddledome.
A rare giveaway by Mark Giordano saw the puck end up on Parise’s stick, and the Wild’s alternate captain scored his 20th of the season on Hiller.
On the other end of the ice, Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves to hand the Flames their very first shutout loss of the season. After 60 minutes of great goaltending, the Flames fell to the Wild 1-0.
Although a rivalry matchup against the Edmonton Oilers is always a good time on Saturday nights, the 29th-place Oilers and their habitual struggles almost take away some of the fun from the Battle of Alberta. And while they did their best this past Saturday to beat their southern rivals (well, in the first period, anyways), the Flames nipped a potential loss at home in the bud, and won themselves a thrilling game.
Jordan Eberle was the star of the first period, scoring the opening goal just two minutes into the game. He then assisted on Benoit Pouliot’s goal, after missing a tip-in just shy of the halfway mark of the period.
With two goals against already, Jonas Hiller buckled down in the second to prevent the Oilers from adding a third to their scoresheet. And in the final period of the game, the Flames exploded in offense and exhibited their signature come-from-behind win.
Paul Byron and Lance Bouma scored back-to-back goals in the first half of the period to tie the game at 2. With Derek Roy serving penalty time for a slashing call to Bouma, Sean Monahan won a clean face-off that resulted in a go-ahead powerplay goal.
For good measure, and perhaps to avenge the slashing call, Bouma scored his second of the night, and eighth of the season to give the Flames the final score of 4-2.
The Flames kick off Week Fifteen with a home game against the surging Winnipeg Jets tonight.
Stay tuned for Week Fifteen 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.