Coming off a disappointing effort versus the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Montreal embarked on their Western road trip with their first stop in Calgary. You knew the Flames would be ready for this match up as they desperately needed the two points in order to keep pace with the other teams in their Conference.
You would have thought that Rene Bourque would have been equally motivated to play a strong game versus his former team as this marked his first game back in Calgary since being traded away. Instead we witnessed another uninspired performance by the large winger, as he finished the game with a minus two and had no shots on goal.
I have not said much regarding this trade since it occurred as I was fairly agitated on what we received in return for Michael Cammalleri. I understand that Cammy was not having a great season and with the salary he is earning he simply had to go but at the end of the day we should have gotten a much better return.
The argument that we got from Pierre Gauthier when the trade was made was that Bourque would bring some much needed size and would be a player that can score goals from the dirty areas. Wearing the No. 27, Bourque has done his best impression of former Hab Alex Kovalev as he seems disinterested on what is happening on the ice and only shows up at random moments.
While I agree the Habs needed size, it is just as important for that player to use his size to make an impact. If the player is non-existent on the ice than that size becomes completely irrelevant as he just becomes a pylon for the opposition to skate around. This is more or less what Bourque has become since joining the Habs. The last thing I will say about this is that if Bourque can’t get motivated to play an inspired game against the team who traded him away, what will it take for him to become useful to the Habs?
Calgary was clearly the more determined team in the first period as they slowly took control of the game towards the halfway point of the period. This gave us the first goal of the game when David Moss tipped in a point shot past Carey Price.
A little more than two minutes later Calgary struck again, when Jarome Inginla was allowed to walk in on Price to put his team up by two. Tomas Plekanec and Alexei Emelin where in pursuit of Inginla but their coverage was so weak that they might as well of not been there at all.
At 18:39, the Habs got a break when Inginla got called for hooking. The Habs power play was in the midst of doing squat until they got another break when Tomas Kaberle took a shot that was blocked. The puck found Lars Eller who then fed a nice backhand pass to a wide open Plekanec who easily deposited into the back of the net with four seconds on the clock.
The late goal in the first gave Montreal some legs to start the second as they began applying pressure in the Flames zone. This led to the tying goal at the 9:28 mark, when Max Pacioretty took an innocent shot on net from a bad angle. Miikka Kiprusoff missed the puck with his trapper and the puck trickled past him for another lucky goal.
The tying goal reignited the Flames as they started to retaliate. Their pressure led to the next goal when Mark Giordano blasted one past Price with a bomb from the point. The Flames did not stop there as a few minutes later, Iginla went to work again as he attacked the Habs zone. After seeing his shot blocked, Iggy took the puck behind the net before taking a shot on a wrap around. The puck slipped past Price who was caught out of position and just like that the Flames regained their two goal lead.
The Flames seemed content on protecting their lead early in the third as they went into a defensive shell. This did not stop them from scoring another goal however as Curtis Glenncross scored an empty net goal after receiving the puck from a no look clear by Price. Price was clearly upset at himself as he looked skyward after the goal but this is just the way things have been as of late for him and his team.
The three goal cushion gave the Flames a false sense of security as they let their guard down shortly after. This allowed Eller to score a goal less than two minutes later. Eller entered the Flames zone and fanned on his initial shot, he then fell on one knee and opted to take a desperation shot at that moment. His shot caught everyone by surprise and the puck found the back of the net.
The goal gave the Habs some momentum as they proceeded to attack the Flames. The sustained attack gave Pacioretty his second goal of the night when he shot the puck from his knees with all kinds of traffic in Kiprusoff’s crease. The goal was reviewed and after taking a closer look it was revealed that the shot actually hit Kiprusoff’s paddle before going into the net making it a good goal.
Montreal did their best to spoil the Flames lead late in the period but they were unable to get the tying goal with Price on the bench. This allowed the Flames to hang on for an important two points keeping them alive in the playoff hunt. It will be an uphill battle for the Flames to make it but at least they have some hope. As for Montreal the best we have to look forward to, is the return of Andrei Markov and finding out if he will stay healthy for next season.
HiD Three Stars
- Jarome Iginla
- Max Pacioretty
- Mark Giordano
HiD Turning Point
The Habs allowing the Flames to regain their two goal lead after tying it in the second period.