After coming back from a 2-0 deficit, the Calgary Flames 3-2 suffered an overtime loss to the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Saturday when T.J. Brodie took a holding penalty early in the overtime and the Blues scored one minute later. Now, the team has a few days off before it ends its homestand at the Scotiabank Saddledome Wednesday evening against the Dallas Stars.
As the team prepares for that game, in this post I want to keep Flames’ fans up-to-date on news emerging from the team.
Item One: Travis Hamonic Is an Unlikely Goal-Scorer
If you’re a Flames fan, you simply don’t expect Travis Hamonic to score. But, that’s exactly what he did during the last game on Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada’s television schedule. As it turned out, his play allowed the Flames to collect at least a point during the game.
In the unusual position of fore-checking close to the Blues’ net, Hamonic took advantage of an opportunity to throw a backhand shot past Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington for the tying goal. As I noted, that goal pushed the teams to overtime. And, one point in a game is certainly better than no points.
In total for the season, Hamonic now has four points in 20 games. He’s a shot-blocking, stabilizing defensive player for the Flames. And Flames fans are simply not used to seeing him score; so, any goal off his stick is a bonus.
Item Two: Mark Giordano Sets Up Hamonic for His Goal
In reference to Item One above, we’re more used to seeing defenseman Mark Giordano in a scoring role for the Flames. And, indeed, he has the assist on Hamonic’s goal. Giordano continues his practice of firing the puck on net, with 52 shots on goal this season. During the Blues’ game, he had three more and was a plus-2. Giordano’s assist on the Hamonic goal was his ninth of the year. He now has 13 points in 20 games.
Item Three: Sam Bennett Can’t Score and Can’t Stay Out of Trouble
Is Sam Bennett channeling teammate Milan Lucic? Bennet took two penalties in Saturday’s loss to the Blues and he hasn’t scored in a while. His two added to the Flames penalty total of five penalties for the game. Bennett only five points in 18 games this season.
Item Four: Matthew Tkachuk Begins Flames’ Comeback
It’s easy to forget just how young 21-year-old Matthew Tkachuk really is. When all his teammates are sporting a mustache, I don’t think he’s able to grow one. He seems to have been around for a long time and he’s been a really good player for the Flames. During the Blues’ game, Tkachuk scored his 10th goal of the season midway through the third period to start the team’s comeback.
This season, in 20 games, Tkachuk has 10 goals, nine assists (for 19 points). He’s flirting with a point-a-game pace, which he almost achieved last season when he had 34 goals and 43 assists (77 points) in 80 games.
Item Five: Goalie David Rittich Does His Best, But Penalties Kill His Chances
Flames goalie David Rittich was stuck with the loss when T.J. Brodie took a penalty that led to an almost immediate – less than a minute – overtime goal. In total, Rittich let in three goals on 28 shots. Although that’s not a great save percentage (at .893), it wasn’t his fault because the Flames took five minor penalties, including the one in overtime that allowed their winning goal.
In fact, two of the goals Rittich allowed came when the Flames were shorthanded. With the loss, Rittich now sports a 9-4-3 with a 2.74 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
What’s Next for the Calgary Flames?
The Flames have one more home game, as I noted, against the Stars on Wednesday. They then go on a two-game, back-to-back sunshine road trip when they play the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, November 16 and the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, November 17.
The Flames were 5-5-1 on October 22 and currently sit at 10-7-3. That’s a nice little upswing and probably means that the team is getting back on track.
One notable omission to my post was any mention of Johnny Hockey. I only realized that now as I was engaged in summarizing the post. What that means I don’t know, but I wonder if it’s significant.
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