With a crowd of almost 20,000 cheering them on at home ice, the Calgary Flames took the ‘W’ for game 3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in their first playoff game in six years. Offensive domination stemming from early in the first period lead to the Flames eventual victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Calgary stayed consistent in game 3. They never lost the lead, and instead continued to build upon it. This is key for any team, and the Flames have shown perfect execution in their offensive production. They know what they do well, and they expound upon their positives, rather than dwelling on solely the negative. A bevy of players offering up their production talents has led to their overall success in production. Being able to rely on many players, rather than just a few is what the Flames have somehow perfected, and it is working heavily in their favor.
Getting some help from the younger players on the team not only makes for entertaining hockey, but it’s a huge morale boost for the team. Eighteen year old Rookie Sam Bennett scored his very first NHL goal to add some cushioning to their lead in what, at the time, was a one goal game. Twenty year old Sean Monahan scored his first NHL career playoff goal with an assist from 22 year old rookie Johnny Gaudreau. Big night for the young guys.
Some unlikely heroes have stepped up to the plate in times of need. Michael Ferland is one of those aforementioned players, and he’s been a bit of trouble for the Canucks. While his offensive production is not astronomically superb, his aggressiveness has proven to be a thorn in Vancouver’s side. Kevin Bieksa lost his cool Sunday night after Ferland served out 8 huge hits on Vancouver players. Eighteen hard hits have been served from Ferland in the series so far, and it is far from over. He’s going to continually be a pain for Vancouver to deal with, and I would expect more rowdy behavior (and large brawls) to take place throughout the rest of their games.
Another player to watch is Kris Russell, who has consistently put up praise-worthy numbers for the Flames this series. He has half the amount of goals that he put up in a span of 79 games this season in just three games during the playoffs. With three points in total so far, he is definitely one to watch. Russell has been just one of the players to stick up for a teammate. A roughing call on Russell and Alexandre Burrows in the second period eventually boiled over into a fight in the third period after Burrows had a dirty hit on Johnny Gaudreau. This eventually lead to Burrows’ ejection on an ‘instigator penalty,’ and a fighting major for Russell.
There’s still a whole lot more hockey to play, and it’s surely going to be exciting. In the upcoming games, it will be interesting to see who will be the next game-changer.