In the 5th round of the shootout, Matt Read’s goal was the difference for the Philadelphia Flyers who walked out of the ‘Dome with a stolen 2 points.
The Flames got off to a great start, scoring two goals in the first 5 minutes. Mark “don’t mess with my Italian family” Giordano scored a powerplay goal 3:45 into the game with a slap shot from the point. Matt Stajan really got into the “retro night” theme as he scored a goal that was reminiscent of his time in Toronto, when he actually contributed to the score sheet. Granted, Stajan has been injured for much of this season, but this one was only his 3rd goal in 41 games.
The Flames, and their fans, must have been feeling pretty good about themselves as they entered the 1st intermission with a 2-goal lead. Despite the horrendous officiating, it looked like everything would work out and that the 2-goal buffer would be enough to hold off the Flyers.
Midway through the 2nd period the unthinkable happened: the Flames actually scored a short-handed goal. This was the Flames first short-handed goal of the season, and it sent the Saddledome crowd into a frenzy. Even more unbelievable was the fact that this shortie was scored by Tom Kostopoulos, who isn’t known for his gifted hands on the breakaway. Alex Tanguay, who was the only top-line Flames player to make an impact tonight, set up Kostopoulos for the short-handed breakaway and the Greek didn’t disappoint.
Cue the comeback. Philadelphia got on the board shortly afterward when Jakub Voracek wristed a shot past Miikka Kiprusoff. Then the Flames collapsed late in the 2nd period and allowed Braydon Coburn to score his 3rd goal of the season with just 34 seconds remaining. After 35 minutes of solid, urgent hockey, the Flames 4-minute lapse caused them to wake up and find themselves with only a 1-goal lead in the 2nd intermission.
I was fairly surprised to read that Pat Steinberg gave Matt Stajan his “Red Warrior” of the night in his post-game write-up. The reason? As good as Stajan played, he made a rookie error by taking an unnecessary boarding penalty while the Flames were already killing a penalty. That put his team down 5-on-3 for almost 90 seconds, and it only took Philadelphia 40 seconds to tie the game. Scott Hartnell’s 29th goal of the season tied the game and took all the wind out of Calgary’s sails.
It really looked like this would be the end for the Flames, but Tanguay had one last trick up his sleeve.
Tanguay was hooked from behind while on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. He skated in on Ilya Bryzgalov, deked and faded towards the left side of the net. With Bryzgalov on the ice, Tanguay roofed it into the Flyers net to put the Flames ahead again.
But it wasn’t enough. Hartnell bagged his 30th of the season with 7:39 to play, and despite their best efforts, neither team could break the 4-4 deadlock before the end of regulation. Overtime solved nothing and it took 5 rounds of the shootout to choose a winner.
The single point is a fair result for the Flames, but it doesn’t help them gain any ground against the other teams they’re in the playof race with. Colorado won back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday and LA, Dallas and Phoenix all won their weekend games so Calgary now finds themselves in 11th place in the Western Conference. With 20 games remaining, the Flames need about 30 points to hope to make the playoffs. I’m always hopeful, but never confident that they have it in them.
Here are the game highlights: