The positive attitudes and optimism seem to be working for the Calgary Flames.
They hit their offensive stride again and kept the shots on net relatively even against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Shots on net were close throughout the entire game even though Jiri Hudler couldn’t seem to buy himself a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury. Shots after the first period were 13 for the Penguins and 12 for the Flames. After the second period, they were 19 Penguins, 22 Flames.
Brian McGrattan was confronted by Deryk Engelland and they subsequently dropped the mitts. One punch was all it took for Engelland to drop to the ice. McGrattan held onto the Penguins player, helped him back onto his feet, and then gave him the respectful tap on the helmet that McG is known for. I’m pretty sure that anyone who says there’s no respect in hockey has never watched a McGrattan fight. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the league but he always makes sure his opponent is alright before skating off to serve his penalty.
Reto Berra made 24 saves on 26 shots for Calgary, most impressive were his saves on Sidney Crosby. Marc-Andre Fleury also stood on his head, and used his head to make a save on a hard shot by Mikael Backlund after being turned around in net because of a rush by Giordano.
Two goals by Chris Kunitz and Matt Niskanen in the second period could have made the Flames players turtle and check out once again and could have had negative effects on Calgary, but they pushed forward.
After Mark Giordano endured a nasty hit from the Penguins Robert Bortuzzo, a spark was lit and the Flames wanted revenge. Mike Cammalleri, obviously still reeling from pulling Crosby out of the Giordano/Bortuzzo mix, saw Brandon Sutter coming in to pinch him along the boards and made a blatant cross-check on his opponent, giving Pittsburgh a two-minute advantage. Luckily, no goals were scored.
And then Mikael Backlund happened. He literally shoved the Penguins defense aside while making his way to the net with the puck. His hard slapshot found the back of the Pittsburgh net to put the Flames on the board for the first time in 196:59.
The final score of the game was 2-1 for Pittsburgh, but it was the most entertaining game the Flames have played in a long time.
It seems to me that a feisty Flames team is a productive team. Is this the gritty attitude that Brian Burke has been hoping for?
Tags: Calgary Flames