On a frigid day outdoors in Calgary, the Flames were able to persevere through the conditions and hand a beating to the suddenly sliding Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at McMahon Stadium in the 2011 Heritage Classic. Rene Bourque’s two goals paced the offense while Miikka Kiprusoff got his fourth shutout of the season stopping 39 shots in the victory.
While the ice was indeed a bit different than what we saw during the Winter Classic, this time the ice being frozen so hard that they opted to not use Zambonis as opposed to warm and rainy weather, the Flames seemed to be the only team able to handle the ice and the cold as they dominated the Habs all over the ice. Calgary scored two power play goals, one from Bourque the other from Alex Tanguay, and one shorthanded goal from Anton Babchuk.
Carey Price didn’t have his best game tonight but he was still busy in stopping 33 shots in the loss. The Habs got some goat-like work out of their defensemen, Roman Hamrlik in particular who drew two penalties in the game, one leading to Tanguay’s power play goal in the third. P.K. Subban and Hal Gill conspired to give Calgary a 5-on-3 power play in the first that led to Bourque’s first goal when Tanguay hit him with a beautiful pass near the side of the net.
The Flames win was their third in a row and puts them on a hot streak that’s seen them win 11 of their last 14 games and vaulted them into the sixth spot in the Western Conference. For the Habs, it’s their third loss in a row and sixth in their last seven as they sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Losing streaks for them help put them further behind the vastly improved Bruins. Letting the division get away from them won’t help come playoff time regardless of what happened last season.
The game turned out to be the classic example of what happens when a slumping team runs headlong into a hot one. If it turns into the kind of loss that spurs the Habs into action on the trade market, it might be just the right kind of loss at the right time for them. Calgary’s rise continues in the west and has likely turned their future at the trade deadline into one of possibly buying a little bit rather than cleaning out and selling.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)
–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)
–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)
–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)
–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)
–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)
—Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.