Of late, there has been no…hotter…team in the NHL than the Calgary Flames. Winners of their last 9 coming into this, meeting a Penguins team that had won their last 5, one team’s streak inevitably had to be…extinguished.
While many a people are hopping on the Flames dicks for this run that they’re on, it’s hard not to compare it to the tear they went on just a few years ago before…flaming out…in the playoffs.
Once again, they’ve gotten some bounces to go their way. Since late January, when they started decimating apart the league, they’ve been shooting at 9.66% at even strength and Brian Elliott has been playing out of his skull, with the team save percentage sitting at a hefty 94.37%.
The only identifiable difference between this Calgary Flames team and Bob Hartley’s is that they actually control 51% of the puck instead of like, 37% or whatever the hell hole Hartley had them living in. But sure, when you tie your franchise-best win streak, it’s cause for celebration. But when you need a shootout to do it, you’re no better than the Columbus Blue Jackets.
While the Pens had a little bit of notice before this one to make a call up, they did so by getting Josh Archibald back with the big club instead of rolling 7 D. Fleury got the nod in an effort to show his future team he still has something left in the tank for next year.
And it took the Penguins just 3 minutes and 4 shots to snuff out Brian Elliott’s 2+ game shutout with a gritty goal from Conor Sheary for his 20th on the year. That line just freight training teams. 1-0
But with 6:12 remaining, Streit and Hainsey didn’t handle a soft dump in too well, with the latter making his first mistake in a Penguin uniform. All around, it was a really tough game for Hainsey. It’s like instead of getting the mumps in Vancouver, Hainsey contracted playing the puck like a damn 5 year old. Deryk Engelland with the best play of his life since that time he scored a goal as a forward, getting the deflection off a Penguin in front. 1-1
But about 90 seconds later, Frolik would head off for high sticking to give the Pens their first PP of the night. Some magic between Phil, Sid, and Schultz at the blue line created a 2v1 with Gene and Kunitz and left Engelland more abandoned than my ex wife. 2-1
Just over 90 seconds into the period, the Flames lit up the scoreboard with the equalizer. A rather innocuous shot took no less than 18 deflections and fluttered its way behind MAF for the second vintage Fleury goal against on the night. 2-2
That goal gave the Flames some life, leading to a nice spell of dominance with Gaudreau and Co. ripping the Pens apart. Whether or not Fleury would’ve made the save doesn’t matter because Malkin stepped right the fuck up and laid his ass out to block a shot to help clear the zone. Unreal play from an unreal player.
Both teams would go on to trade off powerplays midway through, leading us to Isaac Newton’s little know Third Law of Goaltending. It states:
For every classic Marc-Andre Fleury goal against, there exists an equal and opposite classic Marc-Andre Fleury save.
Despite Fleury being in some zone and shutting Gaudreau down on every occasion, a Phil penalty 4:50 into the period gave him the opportunity to finally cash in. And cash in John Hockey did on a great individual effort, putting Hainsey through the spin cycle and sending Fleury back to 2012. 3-2
Genuine question: Where the fuck did Fleury think Gaudreau was going there? Here’s a list of things Fleury could’ve done besides leave the net:
- Literally anything else
In the first 15 minutes of the 3rd, the Pens had just 3 shots on goal. On their 5th shot of the period with just 3:31 to play, a Sheary shot towards the net got Crosby trying to get position on Giordano to get to the front of the net. Crosby got his stick up around the glove of Elliott to inhumanely tip the puck, it was challenged, but upheld. Reeeeeeally tough call, but holy shit what a deflection. 3-3
Give him 35 on the year.
OT was straight up the Brian Elliott show. Robbed Sheary on the first shift, then stood on his head with Giordano in the box for high sticking Bonino.
Malkin – Save
Versteeg – Goal
Filthy move. No two ways about it.
Crosby – Miss
Monahan – Save
Kessel – Save
- Sheary-Crosby-Guentzel. Not one under 78% at 5v5 shot attempts. A shot load of scoring chances. Two goals. And they were on the ice for literally just 7 attempted shots again. That’s sickeningly beautiful.
- Tale of two Fleurys. Most of the game, he was solid and markedly brilliant. But at 2-2 in the third, that goal just about sums up his season.
- Streit injured and didn’t play a shift after the first period after blocking a shot. Of course.
- Kunitz’ lack of speed drags Malkin and Kessel down in a big way at 5v5. Second game in a row that trio didn’t even break 40% in the attempted shot share. Just one scoring chance, too.
Pens wrap up their 5 game road trip in Philly on Wednesday. Do it.