Calgary Flames beat Canadiens with Monahan’s ninth OT goal

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 7: Sean Monahan /

The Calgary Flames were desperately looking for their first win in four games tonight vs. the Montreal Canadiens. And they got their wish.

The Calgary Flames would be playing their second game of a back-to-back vs. the Montreal Canadiens. They have just one win in their last five games and a big story has been their struggles with defence. But their last two games have been much better. They outshot their opponents 93-50 the last two games, but unfortunately, only have one point to show for it.

This was extremely evident last night vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs where they battled hard and basically dominated for most of the game and outshot the Leafs 48-29. But they were no match for Freddie Andersen and they definitely deserved a better fate. They ended up losing in a shootout.

Tonight, the Flames are looking to keep up their momentum from last night. Matthew Tkachuk would be out of the game after receiving a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct for the events of last night. The Flames will also be missing Jaromir Jagr who’s missing his second straight game due to a lower-body injury.

Related Story: Matthew Tkachuk suspended one game

David Rittich will get just his second start ever in his NHL career and second start this season. His first start was a successful one vs. the Colorado Avalanche where the Flames won 3-2 and Rittich stopped 24 of 26 shots. He’ll  be looking for that same success tonight against the Habs.

First period

The Calgary Flames started the first period with a faceoff won by the Habs and getting a shot just a few seconds after the game started. Four minutes into the game and a noticeable thing was that the Flames needed to clean up way more in their own end. In one shift alone, Mark Giordano had to make three blocks. But they woke up after those initial few minutes.

And looks like Giordano brought his A-game tonight. He went towards the net around 6:30 into the game and Sean Monahan got the rebound and past Carey Price. The Flames would be up 1-0 at 6:31 into the game. This was Monahan’s 16th goal of the season which is tied for fourth in the league. He’s now also at more than midway to his career-high of 31 goals and we’re at game #29.

MONTREAL, QC – DECEMBER 7 2017: (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – DECEMBER 7 2017: (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) /

That goal lit a fire for the Habs because they came right back to the Flames zone and got a couple of good shots on net and David Rittich had to be sharp. But a few minutes later, the Habs managed to tie it up with a good heads-up play by Daniel Carr. He got a tight shot that bounced of Rittich’s helmet and went in. So the unlucky bounces for the Flames continue.

Lots of action in that first half of the period and that won’t end. Dougie Hamilton took a penalty around the midway mark so the Flames would be short a man. The Habs had four shots on that powerplay and Rittich again had to be sharp, with a good block from Shea Weber. And we all know how fast his shots can be. The game would still be 1-1 and the Flames killed off a penalty, with their PK improving over these last few weeks.

There was some good back and forth pressure from both teams after the penalty ended. So much so that they went over seven minutes without a whistle. The period ended 1-1 and it was a quite evenly split game. The Habs outshot the Flames 14-10 and had 25 shot attempts compared to the Flames’ 20 (5v5). But each team had nine scoring chances and four high-danger chances. And it ended with a good effort from both teams.

Second period

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

The second period started with some tension between Garnet Hathaway and Shea Weber. Hathaway seemed to get under Weber’s skin a little bit. Less than four minutes into the period, the Calgary Flames went on their first powerplay of the game. But they’ll need to watch out because the Habs have five shorthanded goals this season – the highest in the league.

The Flames, especially Micheal Ferland, had some great chances on the powerplay and one looked like it had potential to go into the net, but a great defensive play from Phillip Danault and sent the puck down the ice. As the penalty was winding down, it seemed like the Habs were about to get a breakaway chance with none other than Paul Byron. But this powerplay would result in no goals. On that PP, the Flames had two shots and three scoring chances.

Less than seven minutes in, Giordano seemed to lose his footing and went awkwardly into the boards. Luckily, he stayed on the bench which was a good sign, but we’d be keeping an eye on him for a little bit. But more good news came, and he went back on the ice and seemed to be fine.

A couple minutes later, the Habs had some pressure in the Flames zone and Jakub Jerabek had a rocket shot, but Rittich looked more relaxed in the second period and had a great glove save reaction.

Around the midway mark, the unlucky bounces for the Flames continued. An attempt to clear the zone by Giordano, the puck hit the referee, and the Flames had to scramble to clear it. But unfortunately, it still led to a turnover and Habs captain Max Pacioretty got the puck to the net with a tip-in by Danault – his fifth of the season. That goal came at the 10:10 mark of the period. I mean, I’m not exactly sure what the ref was doing in the middle of the ice anyway, but it’s done now.

The Flames spent a good chunk of the period in their own zone. But finally, in the last five minutes of the period, they were applying some good pressure on the Habs. Within the last 30 seconds, Mark Jankowski had a nice feed to Sam Bennett that resulted in a great, quick shot. But Price was sharp and made a big save there. The second period would end 2-1 in favour of the Habs. The Flames this time outshot the Habs 13-10, but otherwise, the Habs still had a bit of the edge. While the Flames had 20 shot attempts (5v5) and the Habs had 21, the Habs had 12 scoring chances while the Flames only had four and the Habs had three HDCF while the Flames only had one.

Third period

The third period started with some decent end to end action for both teams. Then the Calgary Flames would go on the powerplay, their second of the night. While they didn’t get a goal, they had some decent chances. And Jordie Benn made a good defensive play and intercepted a pass that had the potential to tie things up. The Flames had just one shot on that powerplay, one scoring chance, and one high-danger chance.

After the PP ended, the Calgary Flames continued to apply pressure in the Habs zone. A much better start to this period than the second. At one point, there was a scrum in front of Carey Price and it looked like the Flames put the puck past him, but the ref waived it off right away. However, the play was reviewed and determined it was goaltender interference, so we have no goal. But not so quick. It looked like the puck crossed the line before Price was shoved, so this one would get a challenge from Glen Guluztan. And although he like, never wins challenges, this one looked promising. And it was! They overturned the goal and Garnet Hathaway got his first of the season. And Gulutzan looked happy.

With an assist from Sam Bennett, this would be his first road point of the season. We now have a tie game with a little over 12 minutes to go. Then, with about seven minutes left in the game, the Flames got a 5on3 powerplay.

A great chance for them to get on top. But they didn’t seem to have a whole lot of urgency and couldn’t get the lead. There was quite a bit of action in the last few minutes and both goaltenders had to be sharp, so this one would need extra time for the second night in a row.

And you never doubt the abilities of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan in OT. What looked to be a two-on-one breakaway for Gaudreau and TJ Brodie, Gaudreau wasn’t even thinking of passing it to Brodie. Instead, he noticed Monahan coming from behind, passed it back, and Monahan just wristed it in. This would mark Monahan’s ninth OT goal in his career which is the most in franchise history. He now has six GWG this season which is tied for the league lead. His two goals tonight puts him at 17 goals this season which is tied for third in the league.

David Rittich made 35 saves tonight and now has two wins in two starts this season. He looks promising as a backup.

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The Calgary Flames are leaving this short road-trip with three points out of a possible four. While they definitely deserved that fourth point as well, it was a successful two days and their spirits are high are battling two tough teams. They climbed their way back to a playoff spot, but it could be gone again within a matter of hours, depending on how the rest of the games tonight will go.

The Flames will come back home feeling confident.