Article Written By: Adam Wible
In a chance to gain ground in the powerful Western Conference, the Avalanche and Flames both needed this “W”. The Calgary Flames came into the Pepsi Center on a 4 game losing streak, and knew they needed to get off to a fast start in Colorado.
The Flames did just that. Sean Monahan beat Avalanche goaltender, J.S. Giguere, just 1:08 into the opening period. The momentum did not last long as Colorado was dominant on the power play in the first period. As time was running low on the first power play, Nathan MacKinnon found a lane to put his wrist shot past Karri Ramo to tie the game. The Avalanche would maintain a few Calgary rushes, and find themselves on another power play mid-way through the period. Again, Nathan Mackinnon was there to convert his shot past Giguere, and take the Avalanche into intermission with the lead.
The second period got underway with a Colorado hooking penalty just 20 seconds in. The game would swing back and forth until Joe Colborne tied the game for the Flames beating Ramo. Just two minutes later, Jiri Hurdler put his team leading 12th goal past Giguere to give the glames the lead heading into the final frame.
The Avalanche tied the game 3-3 at 9:33 of the third period on a goal by Paul Stastny, his third point of the game. Gabriel Landeskog passed to Stastny, who was alone in front of the Flames net, and he slid a backhander between goalie Ramo’s pads.
This would hold until the Avalanche had communication problems, and got called for too many men on the ice. Statsny and Matt Duchene went onto the ice at the same time, “That can’t happen with five minutes left,” he said. “When penalties like that happen, they tend to get scored on.”
It took most of the power play, but the Flames were able to find the back of the net. Michael Cammalleri was able to beat Giguere again, and give the lead to the Flames for good.
“We had talked about our power plays as something that needed to be better,” Cammalleri said following the the Flames victory, Snapping Colorado’s 3 game game winning streak.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was critical of goalie J.S. Giguere following the loss. “I thought tonight was a game that should finish 2-1 for us,” Roy said. “We should not have given up more than one goal tonight.”
After Roy was informed of Giguere’s comments on the game, he snapped. “Jiggy should have played better tonight,” Roy said. “I’m not going to look at our team. We may not have had the jump that we should have, but Jiggy should have been better. He hasn’t played well in the past four or five games and he should stand up and say, ‘I’m not playing up to what I should.’ He needs to be better and we need to have him playing better. Period.”
Tense times up in Colorado, luckily they have a couple more games in this homestand. (OTT, NYI)
Rivalry Night on NBCSports has a great matchup nationally tonight, as the Philadelphia Flyers travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils.
Philadelphia is playing hot as of late, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The flyers should have a decent chance at winning and keeping the winning trend going. Though you can never count out one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, Martin Brodeur.
Bruins migrated west for their annual west coast road trip, starting things off in Anaheim. The Ducks boast one of the best home records (17-0-2) and are tied for the NHL points lead.
If there is a team that can knock off the Ducks at home, these Bruins can. Lead by Tuukka Rask, the Bruins only facing the Ducks twice, have the best chance to give them their first regulation loss. It is hard to bet against perfection, so it looks like we’ll have a great game for the night cap.
In weather related news, the game tonight between the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes has been postponed due to blizzard conditions in Buffalo. There goes my upset pick as always. (Buffalo)
Picks for the Night
Flyers 3-2, Sharks 3-2, Penguins 3-1, Ducks 4-3
Edmonton Oilers 2-1