The Calgary Flames scored big in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it proved to be just enough to earn the win and help put an end to a four game losing streak.
Calgary scored four goals in the second period with the first of those coming from Michael Frolik, and that helped lead to a 5-4 victory on Saturday at the PPG Arena. The second period also saw Sam Bennett, Travis Hamonic and Austin Czarnik each scoring over the course of 17 minutes.
The push was enough by the Calgary Flames to hold off the Penguins who came out fighting in the third after ending the second period 5-2. That push saw Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin score two power play goals. Commenting on the late push by Pittsburgh and the Flames win, Sam Bennett said,
“They’re a good team and they had a good pushback there at the end. We got on our heels a little bit, but in the end, we gutted it out and that’s a huge win for our team after not the best showing in the last couple games.”
After going up 1-0 in the first thanks to a goal by Andrew Mangiapane, Calgary seemed to come alive in the second. The Flames were on the last of a four game road trip that spanned eight days but failed to generate any wins going 0-3 until defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins seemed to struggle to capitalise on scoring opportunities during the final minute of the third period after pulling Casey DeSmith. The frustration was evident in Evgeni Malkin, who returned after a one-game suspension due to a stick swinging incident against Michael Raffi. Commenting, Malkin said,
“I think we fought hard. Just wish we would have played better 5-on-5.”
Calgary’s Mike Smith had 34 saves for the night and helped the Flames earn their first win since mid-January. Calgary maintained the lead throughout the second and third period, and that saw Derek Ryan earning three assists. Rasmus Andersson, Mikael Backlund, Oliver Kylington, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk earning single assists. Casey DeSmith stopped seven shots while Matt Murray stopped 24.
The Penguins now sit in the final position for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and are only one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. For sports punters keen on placing bets on upcoming games with leading sportsbooks such as Sports Interaction, that is not good news. Especially when you consider in previous years that Pittsburgh were contenders for the Stanley Cup.
Bill Peters, head coach for the Calgary Flames commented on the last third period push by the Penguins stating that,
“You know it’s coming, right? We made it a little harder than we would’ve liked by putting them on the power play.”
Matt Murray saw his night end shortly after the start of the third period after being replaced by Casey DeSmith. Murray let in five goals on 24 shots, and that was not helped by the lack of defence that failed to be effective.
The Calgary Flames are home for the next three games welcoming Arizona on Monday, the New York Islanders on Wednesday and Anaheim on Friday before embarking on a three game road trip. Pittsburgh will face the New York Rangers on Sunday and then hit the road to face the Devils on Tuesday.