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POINT TAKEN

TJ Brodie returns as Flames force Pens to OT, but fall 3-2

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com

PITTSBURGH - Score the first goal in a game.

It's something head coach Bill Peters has been saying his team must do for weeks.

Something the players said they must do for weeks.

But it had proved easier said than done.

Until Monday night.

 

Video: Brendan Parker recaps the 3-2 OT loss to the Penguins

 

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COMING SOON: Game Over with Brendan Parker

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After snapping a six-game losing streak Saturday with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Flyers in Philly, the Flames were focused and determined to get their second straight win when they visited the Penguins in the third tilt of this four-game road trip.

Instead, they had to settle for a single point.

Dillon Dube got the game off on the right foot, scoring his first of the season as the Flames opened the scoring in a game for the first time in, well, quite sometime.

It was a great start but, again, the game came down to extra time.

Mikael Backlund hit a post and Johnny Gaudreau lost the handle on a breakaway on two excellent chances, before Jake Guentzel score the winner with just 56 seconds left in OT.

David Rittich had another huge night for the Flames, stopping 34 shots.  

The Flames welcomed back TJ Brodie, who skated alongside long-time D partner Mark Giordano in the tilt.

The duo started the game, letting Brodie get back in the pool right away.

Pittsburgh also saw the return of an important blueliner, Kris Letang rejoining the roster from injury.

It was welcome news for a Pens side that has been without captain Sidney Crosby for the last seven games, including last night.

Back to that first goal.

After hemming the Pens in their own zone for more than 45 seconds, the pressure finally paid off.

An alert Rasmus Andersson at the right point spied Dube slipping into the high slot all alone and fed him the puck, the youngster making no mistake as he snapped a shot far-side over the blocker of Tristan Jarry at 7:34.

The Pens netminder was coming off a 36-save performance in Pittsburgh's most recent outing, a 4-1 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils Friday.

Dube's was playing in his fifth game since being called up from the Stockton Heat. Derek Ryan got the other helper.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Dubs' 1��� of the year.#CGYvsPIT | #Flames pic.twitter.com/nqTQtjXPSp

 

It came on the Flames seventh shot of the game, while the Pens had managed to get just one puck on the Calgary cage at that point.

Mark Jankowski - another Flame looking for his first tally of the season - had two good chances on the next shift, Jarry able to stop both.

The Flames extended their shot lead to 10-2 at that point.

The Pens got a breather and a chance to tilt the ice a bit back in their favour when Giordano was called for interference at 9:49.

They made good, with Rittich turning aside a shot from a streaking Dominik Kahun as he cut in from the wing towards the crease, but the rebound bounced out into the slot where Alex Galchenyuk wired it home through traffic at 11:49, two Flames trying to drop in front of him to block it.

Technically it was labelled even strength as the penalty had just expired, to the exact second.

Just so happened it was Galchenyuk's first of the campaign.

The Flames didn't let up, Andrew Mangiapane - who has been one of the Flames strongest players of late - getting a pass through to Matthew Tkachuk on the doorstep inches in front of Jarry, Chucky getting two whacks at it before a dog pile in the blue paint.

Bryan Rust was very nearly gifted a goal with time ticking down in the first, the puck taking a weird deflection off the ends boards and right out in front of Rittich, Rust getting a whack at it before the goalie could get his glove down to trap it, but he knocked it wide. Seconds later Rust got another shot as he circled out front but it went up and over the net.

The second period didn't start according to script, Giordano tagged for tripping Rust just 21 seconds in as the Pens forward drove the net.

However, the Flames do boast the fifth-best PK in the league, clipping along at an impressive 85.5% (Pittsburgh, worth noting, is third at 86.7%). They got the job done, allowing just three shots on the powerplay.

The Pens had some extra hop in their step after, though, piling the shots on Calgary to the tune of 10-3 to start the period. On that 10th shot, Jared McCann picked up a puck off the half-boards from Galchenyuk, skating out and snapping a wrister that deflected off Andersson and up-and-over Rittich's glove to make it 2-1 at 7:14.

Jack Johnson tripped Elias Lindholm and was sent to the box just past the midway point of the frame, giving the Flames their first powerplay.

They got some looks but couldn't beat Jarry.

They built off that shortly after with Johnny Gaudreau getting a good shot, followed by Lindholm with a chance on a rebound from a Michael Stone point blast, and then Mangiapane grabbing the puck off the faceoff and skating hard to the net, Zach Trotman tripping him from behind as he got a shot off as he fell. 

Just 31 seconds into that man-advantage, the Flames hit paydirt. Sean Monahan just missed wide on a shot in the slot but got the puck back and made good on his second chance, scoring his sixth of the season from Tkachuk and Gaudreau at 15:09.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Putting the power in power play.#CGYvsPIT | #Flames pic.twitter.com/v8y8O4dH86

 

That assist by Gaudreau moved him into sole possession of 12th spot in all-time Flames scoring, his 407 points moving him one ahead of the legendary Lanny McDonald. 

Less than a minute later, Mickael Backlund was sent of for tripping, but again the Flames PK got the job done.

 

Video: Condensed Game: Flames @ Penguins

 

ONE-TIMERS:

This was the first of two matchups this season between the Flames and Pens. They meet again on Dec. 17 at the Scotiabank Saddledome (click here for tickets) ... Gaudreau has the third most points in Flames franchise history by an American-born player. Johnny trails Joel Otto (428 pts) and Gary Suter (564 pts) for the lead ... Monahan is two games away from 500 in his career ... Brodie is also closing on a milestone outing, just eight games from No. 600.

 

THE LINEUP:

The forwards, d-pairs and starting goalie to start last night's tilt (starters in bold):

FORWARDS

Johnny Gaudreau  - Sean Monahan  - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk  - Mikael Backlund  - Andrew Mangiapane

Milan Lucic  - Derek Ryan  - Dillon Dube

Tobias RiederMark Jankowski  - Michael Frolik

 

DEFENCE

Mark Giordano  - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin  -  Rasmus Andersson

Oliver Kylington  - Michael Stone

 

GOALTENDERS

David Rittich

Cam Talbot

 

UP NEXT:

The Flames finish off this four-game road swing in Buffalo Wednesday night at 5 p.m. (TV and radio the same). Next home game is Saturday night when the Flames host the Ottawa Senators (click here for tickets).

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