Our starting line-up, which consisted of MacDonald (G), Brodie and Giordano, Glencross, Colborne and David Jones, came screaming out of the gate again tonight. The Calgary Flames looked professional and ready to win. Admittedly, I didn’t get my hopes up because Calgary has a tendency to look good in the first period – the only period in which we usually show up with heart and effort. Even when ex-Flame player, Blake Comeau, now playing for the Blue Jackets, seemed to start barking at Wideman and some of the other players on our bench, the Flames came together as a team that could not be broken. Early in the first period, 18 year old Sean Monahan – seemingly, our new golden boy – scored his very first NHL goal. With the assists going to Stempniak and Baertschi, the Flames were on the board, 1-0. Not long afterwards, O’Brien got an interference penalty which resulted in a goal by the Blue Jackets to even the score, 1-1. It didn’t take long for Galiardi to answer back and then the Flames were leading again, 2-1. Gaborik tied the game just before the end of the first period.
Although the second period was kind of a snoozer, I was pleasantly surprised that the Flames didn’t give up any goals. After losing our steam in the second period against Washington the night before, I was a little afraid that the game against Columbus would be a repeat of the same thing. I’m happy to report that I was wrong. The defense kept up well throughout the second period, which is when they’re notorious for falling apart, and our offensive play was good enough that they were able to put some pressure on the Columbus net even though no goals were scored. The shots on net were 21-19 for Columbus but it was definitley a better second period than the one Calgary had against the Washington Capitals.
The third period started with a goal by Hudler (assisted by Galiardi and Backlund), which put the Flames ahead again by a score of 3-2. And then something astonishing happened that sent a ripple of shock up my spine – “Scoreface” Glencross got another goal (with the assist going to Giordano) and the Flames were up by 2! For those who may not understand what being a Flames fan is all about, allow me to give you a brief history of every game we’ve played in the past few seasons. The Flames always seem to start out well in the first period and they usually look like a good, productive team, but, by the second period, they tend to lose steam. And by the third period, it’s considered a good game if the flames show a little life and effort on the ice to end the game. So, for Glencross to score late in the third period against the Blue Jackets, taking us to a two-goal lead, I will admit that I didn’t even cheer because I was shaken with excitement. As the tail end of the third period played down, Anisimov scored to make it 4-3. And that’s when I was convinced that my favorite team was about to take a typical nose-dive. But a surprising thing happened during this game that I’m not used to. The Calgary Flames did NOT roll over and play dead. Instead, they wouldn’t back down! And the Flames squashed any hope that Columbus had of tying the game when they drew a penalty against the Blue Jackets in the last minute of play. The Flames won by a score of 4-3.
Ben Street. He did a great job covering his man on almost every play and getting to the puck in the offensive zone before the Columbus players could regroup. He covers a lot of ice with long, fast strides and he plays well defensively too. Street seemed motivated and ambitious, as though he had something to prove.
This Flames team looked like a well-oiled machine throughout the entire game. This game was much better than the night before in Washington because Calgary played all three periods, unlike the previous evening, when they only played two and a half periods. They shook off their minor mistakes against Columbus and they kept going.
Colborne was in the lineup for the first time, and he did great by playing physical, smart, fast hockey. MacDonald was in net and, admittedly, I’m not sold on him yet. There’s no denying that he’s a good goalie, but, at this point, I still prefer Ramo even though Ramo gave up one more goal than MacDonald did. Maybe my preference will change in time, but it will probably take a while.
And now the Flames have a night off in order to regroup in Calgary for their home opener on Sunday, October 6th, when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. With the Flames doing well this early in the season and with Tortorella behind the Canucks bench, you can bet your butt that I won’t miss that game for the world!