Calgary Flames 2 – Montreal Canadiens – 1
2nd: 1:52- Leivo (2) (Ryan , Bennett ), 13:55- Leivo (3) (Ryan , Bennett )
3rd: 10:15- Perry (5) (Weber )
Regardless of what the actual score ended up, tonight was a complete and S-utter dominant performance by the Flames that rightly ended in a victory.
Coach Darryl Sutter made his decade-and-a-half long awaited return to the Saddledome, and his fingerprints were all over tonight’s result. With all the predictions of who would flourish under the new tutelage, it was the surprisingly phenomenal new fourth line that provided all the offence.
After a tight-checking first period that only saw 12 combined shots, Josh Leivo finished off a mesmerizing passing play to open the scoring through Jake Allen’s legs. Sam Bennett carried the puck in and found Derek Ryan, who’s nifty change of angle allowed him to slide a saucer backhand pass to Leivo at the far post.
That same trio produced another goal just 12 minutes later, with the exact same stat line. Bennett just slightly slowed down a Shea Weber breakout pass, which was further deflected by Ryan. Leivo scooped the loose change up and absolutely whistled his second of the game past Allen. Leivo also hit a post earlier in the contest, and Allen was just able to keep another bouncing puck out of the net in the third to deny the hat trick. Seriously, Leivo needs to keep playing on a nightly basis.
It was a classic Sutter third period, as the Flames played the strongest, stingiest third period they’ve played all year. A fluky Weber shot took a double deflection and snuck between Markstrom’s pads for the only Canadiens goal of the night midway through the third.
The Flames have been able to put together okay games all year, but the real struggle has been consistency. While tonight was a truly enjoyable and hope-inspiring performance, we can’t buy into this team until they perform like this consistently.
The boys are back in action Saturday with Montreal back in the ‘Dome.
Flame of the Game
Sam Bennett (F): Leivo and Ryan could easily slot into here as well, but Bennett has taken his lumps and he deserves the praise when it’s earned. Not only did he chip in two assists, but he was physical again and managed to avoid making the usual mistake or taking a bad penalty. It’s a good start for a guy under a new coach who truly seems to believe he can find his identity. Always nice to see someone sit Corey Perry down too.
by Gordie Taylor