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Inside The Game: Flames vs. Islanders

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames


CALGARY, AB -- David Jones broke a tie late in the third period and Reto Berra made 28 saves to power the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday.

The win is Berra’s first career victory in regulation. His previous seven have come in either overtime or by way of a shootout.

It came with a little help from Jones and Matt Stajan. From a sharp angle, Stajan fired a shot that Evgeni Nabokov blocked, but the rebound deflected off the shin pad of Jones and behind the Islanders goaltender to put the Flames up 3-2 with 5:32 remaining in the third.

The goal was needed after Calvin de Haan tied the game at 7:31.

Mikael Backlund found the back of the empty net with 2.6 seconds remaining to make it a 4-2 final.

Berra was forced to be sharp in the early stages of the game to win his first in regulation.

First, he denied Michael Grabner from 15 feet out after the puck skipped into the slot and onto the stick of the Islanders forward just 4:12 into the contest. Berra was equally good near the midway mark of the frame after Kyle Okposo slid a quick cross-ice pass to Thomas Vanek, forcing the Flames netminder to make a sprawling save before Stajan swept the rebound off the goal line.

In all, Berra made 11 saves in the opening 20 minutes to keep the game scoreless. He also bought some time for the Flames, who managed just five shots in the first.

Sean Monahan rewarded Berra in the second, chipping his team-leading 16th of the season over the shoulder of Nabokov at 14:15.

On the power play, Dennis Wideman extended that lead to two. Wideman took a cross-ice pass from Backlund in the corner and wired a shot over Nabokov’s glove to put Calgary up 2-0 with just 1:52 remaining in the second.

But the Islanders managed to get one back courtesy Calgary, AB native Thomas Hickey, who corralled the puck after it slipped off the stick of Josh Bailey and beat a surprised Berra from a sharp angle to cut the lead to 2-1 with just 6.1 seconds left in the period.


After taking a cross-ice pass from Backlund in the corner, Wideman cradled the puck before firing a hard wrister over Nabokov’s glove and into the top corner of the net for his fourth on the year to temporarily put the Flames up 2-0 late in the second period.


A slick, quick pass from Okposo onto the stick of Vanek left Berra sprawling to make the initial save while Stajan swept the puck out of the crease before another Islander could touch it to keep the game scoreless near the midway mark of the first period.


Jones' goal late in regulation gave little time for the Islanders to respond and pushed the Flames to their first road victory since Jan. 13.


With a goal and an assist against the Islanders, Backlund now has five multi-point games in his past six games.


Kevin Westgarth and Christopher Breen were scratched against the Islanders. Karri Ramo (MCL) and Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) missed the game due to injury.


The Flames conclude their pre-Olympic schedule on Saturday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers (11 am MST, SNET-W, Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

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