Well, we’ve been waiting for this one – the Calgary Flames won their first game since before Christmas. It was a good sixty minutes of hockey from a team that has been going through a rough slump. With Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and Nathan MacKinnon on tap for the Colorado Avalanche, I didn’t have high hopes against such a powerful team. But the Flames came through and won their first game in regulation since December 4th, against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The game started in good spirits as Sean Monahan carried the puck into the Avalanche zone, walked through three Colorado players, and took a shot on net with Lee Stempniak on his wing. I don’t think any of us saw that goal coming, but I know that I jumped out of my seat and cheered louder than I have in a long time.
A few minutes later, MacKinnon tied the game during a Flames tripping penalty against Mike Cammalleri. About halfway through the period, MacKinnon scored again to put the Avalanche ahead on the score board. The first period ended with a tally of 2-1 for Colorado.
The second period was the continuation of a forceful Flames team. Hartley mentioned that he wanted the team to play smarter, and they did. It may have taken a while for the Flames to get their plays focused, but they were persistent. The period, as well as most of the game, was controlled pressure from Calgary. They set up plays, they executed shots on net, and the goals were inevitable because of their attention to remain focused.
The Avalanche couldn’t seem to break through the Flames defense early in the third period and Karri Ramo didn’t make it easy for Colorado either. Calgary’s netminder was solid all game. The Flames were on their game and they had a need to win. But with one small mistake, Paul Stastny tied it up again.
After a few more minutes of back and forth by each team, it happened. Calgary went on the powerplay late in the third because Colorado put too many men on the ice. With less than five minutes left in the period, Mike Cammalleri made his way in front of the Avalanche net and snuck one past Giguere to win the game in regulation for the Flames. Final score, 4-3.
My 1 Star. Jiri Hudler. After being snubbed by the Czech Republic Olympic Team, Hudler was my pick for player of the night for the Calgary Flames, proving why the Czech team made a big mistake by leaving him off their roster. Hudler garnered one goal and one assist against Colorado and made his presence known during every shift. It was 18:55 of intense hockey from one of the Flames best players. Thank you, Jiri. I am one Flames fan who is so glad that you’re ours. #CzechMate describes last night’s game perfectly!