And there it is, Flames fans – our first regular season game! And what a game it was. Other than a little hiccup in the second period, we played well considering the loss of Cammalleri, who was out with a hand injury. Only 5 players on our opening night roster had played against the Capitals during the last match-up on January 3, 2012. And now, on October 3, 2013, these two teams met again and they rocked the Verizon Center with a game full of action, goals, hits, pressure, and a little bit of grit from a team that is usually known for rolling over and playing dead.
Our first period opened with a bang! The starting line-up of Ramo in net, Brodie and Giordano on defense, and Glencross, Stajan, and Stempniak in front took off like a rocket and set the tone for the Flames. The entire period was all Flames and not one of them backed down from any adversity. David Jones opened the scoring just before Bouman laid a clean hit on Hillen, who then left the game injured. In retaliation, Wilson took after Bouma and ended up with an instigator penalty. A few minutes later, as Russell attempted to defend the net from Ovechkin, Ovi didn’t seem to like the way Russell protected his ice and gave Russell a shot with his stick. No penalty was called. Hmmm. That’s okay because it wasn’t long until Stempniak capitalized on the Capitals lack of defense. Thanks in part to Green, the Flames were up 2-0. Hudler ended the period with another goal as Holtby was pulled from net shortly afterwards. The period ended 3-1 for the Flames.
And then the game shifted. The Flames started the second period looking confused and messy on the ice. Carrick capitalized on the Flames confusion. The Capitals broke through with a score of 3-1. The Flames answered back with some grit and pressure on the Capitals net for a short period of time and that’s when Bouma, who had 4 goals in the pre-season games, netted his first goal of the regular season. A bad penalty by David Jones for high sticking cost the Flames as Ovechkin closed the scoring gap, 4-2 for the Flames. Our defense scattered and Ovechkin scored again, 4-3. The period ended with 23-23 shots on goal.
We came back with more effort in the third period. Yet, in spite of an abundance of Capitals penalties, we couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. And then the Galiardi goalie interference penatlty happened which tied the game at 4. Off to overtime we went and it was all Flames again. Neuvirth was on his game as he shut down every attempt at the goal. The Flames couldn’t pot one in spite of their effort. Based on their performance in OT, the Flames should have won it. But, no, we went to a shootout. Inexperience prevailed as Baertschi and Hudler were both denied while Grabovski and Ovechkin both scored, taking the Caps over the Flames by a score of 5-4.
My 1 Star
He was definitely on his game tonight, for the most part. With Brodie, he seems to have a good night or a bad night – tonight was good for him. Thanks to his smart defensive plays, physicality, and no major mistakes, our defense looked great in the first, third, and OT periods.
For being as nervous as he said he was on the Flames website, Monahan seemed to do well for his first time in the Show. He was poised, professional, and calm. I have a good feeling about this kid.
I think a lot of people were surprised to see the Flames race out of the gate like they did in the first period. They gave us hope for a new season, a new team, and a new beginning for the Flames. I’m excited to be part of it. This is going to be a fun year!