Coach Peters has quickly shown Calgary Flames fans a knack for changing lines mid-game with positive results. He has also shown us that it rarely translates into the starting lineup of the next game. Heading into the Rangers game, we saw him go against his own grain and keep together the Sam Bennett-Derek Ryan-James Neal line. In doing so, he moved Mark Jankowski down to the 4th line to continue playing with Dillon Dube and Garnet Hathaway.

The only other lineup change is David Rittich getting his second start of the season. Here’s hoping he gets off to a better start than he did in Colorado.



41 seconds into the game we have a long delay to fix the boards. Rittich made a save before and after the delay so he is already off to a better start than in Colorado. Would love to see a goalie controversy in Calgary (totally getting ahead of myself but after seeing Rittich and Gillies struggle last season during Smith’s injury, here’s to a confidence building game).

2:34 scramble in the Flames crease and Rasmus Andersson does not back down from Cody McLeod. I enjoy watching the fire in this kid. 3:54 Kevin Shattenkirk slew-foots Matthew Tkachuk, no penalty called, Tkachuk still gets a quality scoring chance after picking himself up of the ice. Near the six minute mark, Andersson rushes down the ice and fires a shot then the “3M” apply about 20 seconds of zone pressure.

Oh T.J. Brodie! You’ve really struggled so far this season.The dreadful turnover with 6:34 remaining that resulted in a big save by Rittich is infuriating. A minute and a half later keeping Filip Chytil to outside as he tried to skate around you reduced the length of this rant significantly. Long story short, if there was a defenceman that could use a dose of the “healthy scratch” medicine it has been you. That says something for a team skating two rookies on their defensive core. Shame our seventh defenceman Dalton Prout is strictly a 3rd liner.

The Gaudreau goal assisted by Sean Monahan does not get scored if this is only there first or second year together. Monahan threw that puck to a spot and Gaudreau was barely close enough to receive it and capitalize.

Garnet Hathaway with a penalty while behind Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Brodie with one skate (the guard on his other skate limited his mobility) played some of his best defence of the season. That’s not even a smart-ass comment. Tkachuk and the Rangers Chris Kreider take simultaneous penalties, well kind of. Lindholm had drawn a penalty but when Rittich went to the bench for the extra attacker too many men jumped onto the ice. Game 8 you can laugh that off but if this happens again in game 28, that’s a rant of its own.



Rittich having to make 6 saves in the first 3:04 is a sign that the team continues to struggle to start periods.

Began noticing it late in the first period, “Brodano” seems to be split. Giordano-Andersson and Brodie-Hanifin seem to be the new defensive pairings. Seems Coach Peters is taking the opportunity to reward one defenceman while downgrading another.

Andersson with the bad turnover at the Rangers blueline creates a scoring opportunity. While still in the Flames zone an Elias Lindholm turnover leads to another scoring chance which Rittich kicks out a long rebound leading to a third scoring chance. Last year, that would have been a goal against most nights.

9:08 remaining Sam Bennett dents the goal post. Shots at this point in the period are 9-1 favour of the Rangers. Rittich earning another start so far in this one.

With 8:33 remaining the Jankowski-Hathaway-Dube line entered the Rangers zone. 54 seconds later Hathaway scores to make it 2-0. Juuso Valimaki and Michael Stone both with marvelous plays at the blue line to extend time and pressure in the zone.

300th career point is a goal for Johnny Hockey. That goal was all Johnny, absolute beauty.

Dube draws a penalty. A couple early shots then the zone penetration problems cropped up again.

Another goalpost by the Flames and another strong shift by the 4th line. As a card carrying member of the Austin Czarnik fan club, I’m being convinced that the team is okay with him on the bench. Weirdly that’s a good feeling.



First shot of the period is by Dube at the 2:20 on a clear-cut breakaway. More than it being a scoring chance by the Flames rookie it is a reminder that the Flames have had their first good start to a period thus far this evening.

The fly in the ointment of Bennett’s development is the amount of unnecessary minor penalties he takes. Guess he buys Rittich the first round tonight after the game as the shutout is broken. Coach Peters follows the Rangers powerplay goal with his 4th line. The play ends with a Dube shot deflecting out of play for an offensive zone faceoff.

Gaudreau gets stopped. An Andersson shot gets blocked and both he and Gio are caught with Rangers behind them. Jesper Fast with with a breakaway, Mika Zibanejad with the rebound and another great save. Kreider gets a scoring chance moments later. Rittich needs to work on his rebound control but these were some fine saves.

Andersson CLEANLY levels Mats ZuccarelloBrady Skjei goes to fight Andersson who turtles. Meanwhile Hathaway skates in and scores to make it 4-1. Weirdly the only penalty after the goal was to Zuccarello for reacting to Andersson. You see something new every time you watch a game.

Giving up 20 shots in the 3rd period is not conducive to long term success but Rittich was up to the task. Do you give him the start on Tuesday in Montreal? Do you keep “Brodano” split apart?

Despite being outplayed for most of the period this is the first time this season Coach Peters rolled 4 lines consistently throughout the game.




March To The Stanley Cup, Calgary Flames Game 8

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