DRAMATIC OT WIN
Flames come from behind
FLAMES 6, FLYERS 5 (OT)
The Calgary Flames have a flair for dramatics.
Just when it looked like Wednesday’s clash against the Philadelphia Flyers was over, that the locals would lose this one by a 5-3 count, they came alive.
First came Rasmus Andersson’s first National Hockey League goal with 1:08 left in regulation time — a superb slapper that ignited the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd. That narrowed the Flyers’ lead to a single goal.
Then, with 7.0 seconds left on the clock, Sean Monahan potted his 20th marker of the season to tie it at 5-5 and send the game into overtime.
At that point, you knew what was coming.
All it took was David Rittich’s massive backhand save on Ivan Provorov followed by Johnny Gaudreau’s game winner with only 35 seconds elapsed in the extra frame.
Just the way Bill Peters drew it up?
“I don’t think I’ve been part of something like that,” said the Flames head coach, shaking his head. “Not that I remember, anyways. Exciting game. Good for the fans. The fans were great. The fans in the building gave us a little bit of juice. I didn’t think we had a lot early.
“Then, once we got going a little bit and the place got loud, it helped us.”
It was an interesting turn of events, considering the talk until that point had been how Flames starting goalie Mike Smith had struggled, allowing four goals on five shots in the second period. The 36-year-old didn’t return for the third period and Rittich relieved him.
Smith wasn’t on the bench for the third period after Peters received word that “he wasn’t right.”
“Ritter went in and did a good job,” said Peters.
In the end, the Flames improved to 20-10-2, bouncing back from Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Oilers to move back into the Western Conference lead.
After two periods, the Flames trailed 4-2 and things weren’t going well. That continued in the third period when Sean Couturier beat Rittich glove side to make it 5-2 on a short-handed breakaway.
Meanwhile, the Flames were blanked on four power plays. But things change quickly. “We were all around the net in the third period there, including the power plays, couldn’t find the net there but we found a way,” Gaudreau said. “Nice point shot from Rasmus, great screen in front from Chucky and a couple other guys. Then a huge play by Chucky on the wall to Monny in front to tie the game up.
“It took all 60 minutes, but it was a good effort in the third. We didn’t play our best hockey in the first and second, but we stuck with it and found a way to play a little bit harder in the third and get the two points.” Let’s rewind the tape.
The second period saw Philly’s Claude Giroux capitalize on a turnover, heading up ice and spotting Travis Sanheim on the rush. The former Calgary Hitmen blueliner beat a sprawling Smith on his backhand with 52 seconds elapsed.
The Flames responded when Mark Giordano, playing his first game back after a two-game suspension, ripped a short-handed blast past Flyers goalie Anthony Stolarz to put Calgary ahead 2-1.
But just as they were announcing the captain’s goal, James van Riemsdyk batted in a rebound to tie it again at 2-2.
Thirty-two seconds later, Couturier put the Flyers ahead 3-2 with a backhand tip.
Then, 1:16 after that, Dale Weise potted Philadelphia’s fourth marker.
“They had way too many oddman rushes for our liking,” Peters said. “We knew that as a team. For some reason, we couldn’t put an end to it. We knew what the problem was and didn’t quite get it addressed the way we would have liked.”
Monahan made it a one-goal game on a power play at the 10:13 mark of the second period.
But goaltending somewhat derailed the Flames when Smith allowed four goals on 14 shots.
But, by pummelling Philly’s Stolarz with 41 shot attempts in the end, the Flames got the job done.
Now the Flames head out on a road trip to Minnesota, St. Louis and Dallas.
The Flames got a scare late in the first period when Gaudreau left the ice after tumbling to the ice, trying to avoid Radko Gudas. Gaudreau headed to the dressing room immediately while Tkachuk took his spot on the top line with Monahan and Lindholm on the next shift.
Meanwhile, call-up Alan Quine filled in for Gaudreau briefly on Calgary’s first unit power play at the end of the period.
“I’m not sure if a stick caught my skate or I lost an edge,” said Gaudreau, who returned to start the second period. “I went down as he was hitting me. It’s just the way it happened . ... I thought I cut my eye at first. That’s why I was holding my face … I was kind of fortunate there.”
Johnny Gaudreau whoops it up after scoring in overtime to give the Flames a 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.