When the NHL Schedule came out, no one could predict that the March 13th, 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Calgary Flames might be a Stabley Cup preview. Sure, everyone, had the Penguins having a chance to make it back to the. But the Calgary Flames?
That was the case Monday night as the Penguins played their 4th game of the current road trip against the, pardon the expression, the red hot flames.
This game features the teams with the best records in the NHL since Jan 26th. And a Flames win would mean the 4th NHL team in 2017 to have a ten game streak.
For Pittsburgh, they came in after road victories in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver. They also had a chance to tie Washington atop the Metropolitan Division with a point.
What is particularly impressive right now is how the Penguins are winning games. With eight regulars out of the lineup and playing their 4th game in 6th nights, the Pens are piecing things together.
Josh Archibald was called up for this one and joins this makeshift lineup. Despite the injuries, the Pens are chugging along grabbing wins.
As mentioned earlier Calgary comes in winning 9 in a row. Behind strong goaltending from Brian Elliot and timely scoring, the Flames would be shooting for a franchise-tying record in this one.
In the net would be Elliot for the Flames and Marc-Andre Fleury for the Pens.
Scoring would not take long as just 2:54 seconds in the Penguins would cash in.
After pressuring the Flames with several shots, Jake Guentzel was able to take a Crosby feed. From behind the net, he threw it across the crease to Sheary who nabbed his 20th of the year.
Interesting to see Guentzel work off the space created by Crosby there and then the offensive instincts by Sheary to go to the back post for the tap in goal.
1-0 Penguins, not even 3 minutes into the game.
An ex-Penguin would come to haunt the Pens and set up the tying goal.
After Alex Chiasson had made a nice steal in the Penguins offensive end, he found a cutting Deryk Engelland near the point.
Engelland walked down the boards and from the outside of the circle fired a shot pass that Matt Stajan looked like he deflected in but later it just glanced off a skate.
The goal was credited to Engelland, and the game was tied at 1.
With under five left in the period, Malkin would again give the Penguins the lead on the Power play.
Schultz made a pass to Kessel from the point, and then Kessel keenly slipped it to Malkin who had found free space in the middle of the ice.
He found Kunitz who worked the give and go with Malkin. Malkin passed and went to the net keeping his stick on the ice. Kunitz found Malkin’s stick and the Pens again had a 2-1 lead.
The only scoring in the 2nd period would be by the Flames. A goal at 1:34 of the 2nd period by Dennis Wideman would tie the game at 2.
Calgary won an offensive zone faceoff, and from the point, Wideman just floated the puck towards the net.
Nick Bonino tried to catch the puck with his glove and missed it. When he did this though the puck deflected and MAF lost sight of it.
It made its way into the Penguins net, and the game was knotted.
Into the third, you could feel the intensity cranked. Both teams goaltenders had made some terrific saves, and both teams were playing with speed.
Everyone had the feeling after two that this would be a fun one to watch the finish.
This time it would be Calgary jumping on top and challenging the Pens to play catchup.
Johnny Gaudreau would single handily give the Flames the leads.
First, he wheeled around Kuhnhackl in the neutral zone. Then as he came into the Penguins zone was able to make a move to beat Hainsey with speed to the outside.
The other 3 Penguins and Fleury were beaten when Gaudreau walked around the Penguins net and slipped home a wrap around for a 3-2 lead.
Fantastic goal by the Flames top scorer.
Sidney Crosby had other ideas than a loss, and with under 3 minutes left got his stick on a Sheary shot and touched it in past Elliot.
It looked as though Sid might have interfered with Elliots ability to catch the puck but the goal stood, and the score was tied at 3-3.
The Flames would need OT if they were going to hit 10 in a row thanks to Sid.
As usual, the OT was a shooting gallery. Even further was the fact that the Penguins got a power play. Elliot was forced to make several great saves on the 4 on 3.
In the shootout, all three Pens shooters would be denied, but Kris Versteeg would go forehand backhand high to beat MAF and give the Flames the win.
Injuries sminjuries, this shows you if you keep the big dogs healthy the rest of the pieces can be flipped and flopped. So Kris Letang, please get back soon so we can win the cup.
Can’t see this Calgary team keeping this up. They played smart and disciplined but talent wise no way they can keep up with some of the other teams in the west. Still a great game to watch, though.
It still looks like the defense plays a little more loosey goosey with Fleury in net. Maybe it’s just his style, but it always looks as though he is making some tough saves on great scoring chances
Per the research of Jonathan Bombulie, interesting to see that Connor Sheary is the Pens first homegrown 20 goals scored since Tyler Kennedy. Have to imagine Guentzel will be on that list soon. Also, shows how much the Pens did not go to their homegrown guys enough in previous years.
Penguins: Away vs. the Philadelphia Flyers (31-29-8) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.ET
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