Well, that was fun. Flames win 4-3 in the shootout.
In what was one of the most highly touted games this season, Alberta’s hockey fans got treated to one of the best games of the season. It had fights. It had highlight-reel goals. It had Oilers fans showing up in turtle costumes and it had big points on the line.
In today’s NHL, these types of games don’t often live up to their billing. Teams fall flat, the fights don’t happen, people don’t show up. This game was the exact opposite and despite the Oilers loss, it was an absolute treat.
Now look, if you had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Monahan as the first fight of this highly touted Battle of Alberta, I seriously hope you had put money down because you would be winning more than a few dollars. But seriously, that was awesome to see Nuge step up to the plate when challenged like that. For a guy who doesn’t fight often, if ever, he can really step up to the plate when needed.
And it got the barn rocking as 24 seconds later the Zack Kassian – Matthew Tkachuk fight everyone has been yearning for finally happened. Kassian got the better of Tkachuk in the quick scrap that saw gloves fly as high as the banners.
In a night that saw NHL player safety boss George Parros and the league’s head of officiating in town to deter whatever antics they expected, the biggest thing they may have to talk about is Mark Giordano’s questionable second-period knee on Connor McDavid. Giordano was clearly beat and in turn it looks like he tried to turn himself and get back, but instead caught McDavid with an awkward knee that really pissed off McDavid. I don’t know if anything will come of it suspension wise, but it definitely added fuel to the flames that were already burning in the second period.
Edmonton has a few big games coming up before this week ends. On Friday, they square up against a really good St. Louis Blues team that sits atop the Western Conference with a nice eight-point lead. Edmonton has played them twice already this year (STL 5 EDM 2 Nov. 6, STL 2 EDM 1 Dec. 18) with the Oilers falling in both matches.
Then Saturday night they head down the highway to Calgary for an ever-important game four of five in the Battle’s of Alberta.
Despite the loss tonight, Edmonton was able to get one point out of it by forcing it into OT and the team is able to hold onto that third spot in the Pacific Division. Vegas and Arizona both are tied for that spot with 57 points, so Edmonton needs as many as they can.
Breaking down the game
Well, a Flames goal was not how the Oilers wanted to start this game. Just over a minute in Calgary got themselves on the board after a Elias Lindholm toss of the puck from the halfway towards the net bounced off some bodies and into the net. 1-0 Flames a minute in.
And it took 12 minutes for things to heat up a bit when Sam Gagner taking a bit of a run at Zac Rinaldo of all people for things to get a bit testy.
McDavid did McDavid like things with minutes left in the first frame making an incredible move straight through two Flames, but Flames G David Rittich somehow was able to stay with the Oilers superstar for a bit stop.
Then finally! The fight we were all waiting for! Wait… Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Monahan?!
Well, it may not have been the fight we were waiting for but it was a solid little tilt none the less. And only 24 seconds later, the score was finally settled as Matthew Tkachuk answered the bell fighting Zack Kassian.
Kailer Yamamoto kicked off the second period in a big way for the Oilers with a goal four minutes into the frame by finding a loose puck off a Nugent-Hopkins rebound. Both teams seemed to settle into the game with a solid pace up and down the ice both ways. 1-1 tie.
Calgary would get a chance, and then Edmonton would bounce back with one of their own. The Flames, however, were the next team to find twine as with just under seven minutes left in the second frame, Andrew Mangiapane fired a one-timer past Mike Smith to make it 2-1.
The Answer, er, Alex Chiasson got one back for the Oilers only minutes later though. Flames D Mark Giordano took a slashing call after whacking the hands of Sam Gagner, and Chiasson was able to bang home a loose puck to make it 2-2.
Mangiapane managed to pot his second of the night, taking in front of a Kris Russell misplay getting in front of the net with a puck and out waiting a sprawling Smith. The second period closed out 3-2 in favor of Calgary.
Matt Benning got the game tied back up at 3 apiece with eight minutes left in the third frame when he pulled off a Erik Karlsson-esque breakout entering the offensive zone, dancing around a Flames defender and firing a wrist shot past Rittich. 3-3 tie.
Ultimately, OT couldn’t decide this one and the game went to a shootout.
|01:01||Calgary||Elias Lindholm (21) ASST: Milan Lucic (7), Travis Hamonic (8)||1-0|
|05:48||Edmonton||Kailer Yamamoto (4) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (21), Leon Draisaitl (49)||1-1|
|13:05||Calgary||Andrew Mangiapane (9) ASST: Sam Bennett (4)||2-1|
|14:41||Edmonton||PPG – Alex Chiasson (7) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (50), Connor McDavid (50)||2-2|
|19:15||Calgary||Andrew Mangiapane (10) ASST: Matthew Tkachuk (25), Rasmus Andersson (11)||3-2|
|11:49||Edmonton||Matt Benning (1) ASST: Kris Russell (8), James Neal (10)||3-3|
|16:11||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Fighting – 5 minutes|
|16:11||Calgary||Sean Monahan – Fighting – 5 minutes|
|16:11||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Slashing – 2 minutes|
|16:11||Calgary||Sean Monahan – Cross-checking – 2 minutes|
|16:35||Edmonton||Zack Kassian – Fighting – 5 minutes|
|16:35||Calgary||Matthew Tkachuk – Fighting – 5 minutes|
|02:53||Edmonton||Mike Smith – Delay of Game – 2 minutes, Served by Jujhar Khaira|
|06:36||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl – Slashing – 2 minutes|
|06:36||Calgary||Matthew Tkachuk – Slashing – 2 minutes|
|14:08||Calgary||Mark Giordano – Slashing – 2 minutes|
|03:08||Calgary||– Too Many Men – 2 minutes, Served by Matthew Tkachuk|
|07:54||Calgary||Zac Rinaldo – Cross-checking – 2 minutes|
|15:50||Calgary||Buddy Robinson – Holding – 2 minutes|
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