The first 20 minutes of tonight’s game may have given delusional Flames fans something to hope for, but after dominating a sleepy Washington Capitals team for one period, the Flames momentum started to fall apart.
Trailing 3-0, the Capitals, lead by the always-energetic Alexander Ovechkin, scored three of their own goals (two from Ovechkin) in the 2nd period and added a 4th in the third period to send the game to overtime, and eventually a shootout, where they sealed the win. They scored on their first two shots in the shootout, while the Flames were blanked twice by back-up goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Despite the loss, there are positives the Flames can take from the game. First, they’re officially playing 500 hockey. That may be something we all dream about a few months from now. Second, Flames top draft pick, Sean Monahan got his first NHL point in his first NHL game. That’s always important to get a young star (?) off to a good start. Third, the Flames may not have matched the Capitals for skill, but they matched them for hustle. That in itself was good to see.
We’re used to seeing a tired and old Flames team, that struggles to keep up with younger, quicker NHL teams. Tonight that definitely wasn’t the case. The Flames were all over the ice, supported the puck when they needed to, and generally played well in 3 zones.
New Flames goalie (with HUGE shoes to fill) Karri Ramo faced 29 shots, and shut down the offensively-potent Washington Capitals for much of the game. He was solid in net, but it looked like the Capitals may have found a weakness in his game: side-to-side motion on the breakaway. Connor Carrick scored his first NHL goal on an out-of-the-penalty-box breakaway deke, and both Mikhail Grabovski and Ovechkin used the same move to score in the shootout.
So it looks like it might be a long season for us Flames fans, but it definitely wont be a sleepy one. If the Flames come out with this type of effort every night, I’ll be happy, whether we win or lose.