Last night was going to be great. It was going to start out with my Calgary Flames laying a beat-down on the last place Ottawa Senators. Then it would finish with the almost last place Vancouver Canucks beating the Oilers. Ok, let me explain,I know I am covering the Oilers as a writer here, but I am still a Flames fan so… it’s complicated! Anyway, just like the past year, things went to hell in a hand-basket! Let’s recap!
Calgary Flames vs Ottawa Senators
Either I very much underestimated the Ottawa Senators, or I very much overestimated the Calgary Flames. Even though the Sens are the last place team in the league, the Flames actually aren’t that far behind. If you watched last night’s game, you would never know which team was which. The Sens jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the halfway point of the first period and both teams pretty much just coasted through the rest of the period.
Milan Lucic got the Flames on the board early in the second period, but that’s all the Flames would get past Sens goalie Matt Murray. Not long after the Lucic goal, the Sens would strike again, and the bloodbath was beginning. The Senators would add four more goals, including one from a shot taken outside the blue line, which meant the end of the game for David Rittich. Rittich gave a steel door in the hallway a headbutt on his way out, which was probably the hardest shot the Flames took all night. Make the final 7-1 for the Ottawa Senators.
The first four goals the Calgary Flames allowed were all off turnovers. Two of the goals David Rittich let in were fugly. One was a simple wrist shot that he just didn’t pick up. The second was the shot from around 80 feet away with nobody in his way. He did make some nice saves though, and as usual got zero offensive support from this emotionless Flames club.
The Flames definitely need a shake-up in my opinion. As good as he has been playing lately on the top line, I think Bennett has to go. Like I heard on the radio this morning, the rest of the guys can’t be feeling good about having him in that room after what went down. The Flames and Sens will do it again on Saturday afternoon, or morning, depending on where you are watching.
Edmonton Oilers vs Vancouver Canucks
For the second time this week, the Edmonton Oilers visited the Vancouver Canucks as well on Thursday night. Although the Canucks were hovering somewhere near the bottom of the standings, I was hoping they would beat the Oilers since the Oilers are ahead of the Flames in the standings.
After a scoreless first period, Alex Chiasson found the back of the net on the power-play. That goal would turn out to be the game-winner. Jesse Puljujarvi added a squeaker through a small hole between Thatcher Demko and the post on the power-play. Connor McDavid tried as hard as he could to pass the puck off with an empty net, but nobody could keep up so he just scored himself. The final in this one, 3-0 in favour of the Edmonton Oilers.
Oilers Goaltender Mike Smith recorded his second shutout of the season and 41st of his career. He stopped all 32 shots he faced. Smith has been on fire this season, winning six out of the seven games he has played and has a goals against average of just 1.73 and a .944 save percentage. The Oilers have now won five straight games, while the Canucks have lost four in a row.
Next game for the Edmonton Oilers is Saturday night as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. This should be a great matchup, as only four points separate them from the Maple Leafs for top spot in the league.
I’m Jason Beisick and I’ll be covering the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers for the Belly Up Hockey team. You can follow me on Twitter as well for general sports talk and likely some trash talk as well.