A night after losing 7-0 to Edmonton, Columbus adopts tight-checking style to get past Calgary
Only the night before, after all, the Columbus Blue Jackets had been manhandled to the tune of 7-0 by the home-ice Edmonton Oilers. Consider them a kicked dog.
“We know exactly — and I warned the players this morning — we know exactly what happened in Edmonton,” Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley was saying before Wednesday’s contest at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “No one in the NHL likes to get spanked like this. And the good part of this league is you play so many games, you have a chance to redeem yourself right away.
“But, on our side, we don’t control what the Blue Jackets will do. We control what we’ll bring to this game.”
Nikita Nikitin, rushing in from the blue line, banged in a rebound at 2:25 of overtime to lift the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 victory in National Hockey League action.
Joe Colborne’s third-period goal — fending off Jack Johnson, he’d coerced a backhander past reigning Vezina Trophy-winner Sergei Bobrovsky at 3:28 — knotted what had been a frustratingly silent evening for the offence.
Despite numbers eerily similar to Karri Ramo, Reto Berra — with eight starts in the past nine games — is clearly a favourite of Hartley’s.
With Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman off for holding Foligno, the Blue Jackets’ power-players worked to the puck to wide-open Jack Johnson. The Columbus defenceman fired at the Calgary net and Berra, barrel-rolling and upside down, somehow got his right pad on the puck.
“He’s showing us some great things,” Hartley said after the morning skate. “I knew him before he got here to Calgary. I know he’s capable of big performances. Right now, he’s learned the North American hockey, especially the size of the rinks. That makes a big difference for a goalie.
And only a few minutes later, R.J. Umberger tapped a pass between his own legs to Nick Foligno, who, from the top of the left faceoff circle, screamed a wrist shot over Berra’s trapper.
The local gents, however, did come close to sneaking a puck into the visitors’ net.
In a rapid-fire sequence, Matt Stajan set up Lee Stempniak, who blasted a shot. The puck went back to the right point and, from there, T.J. Brodie cranked a shot off the post. Cammalleri, lurking nearby, had a good swing at the rebound.
Later in the second period, there was a little rough stuff. Among the riled-up members of the Flames were Kris Russell and Michael Cammalleri. Their last fights in the NHL were . . . against each other — April, 25, 2013, in St. Louis.
C-NOTES: Flames scratches included D Derek Smith, RW Tim Jackman, D Mark Giordano (ankle), LW Curtis Glencross (knee) . . . In AHL action, Abbotsford Heat, 15-5-1, dumped the home-ice Rockford IceHogs 4-2 on goals from LW Ben Hanowski, C Paul Byron, LW Michael Ferland and C Brett Olson. Joey MacDonald picked up the win in net . . . Flames prospect LW Johnny Gaudreau picked up two goals and one assist in Boston College’s 5-1 win over Harvard, giving him 23 points in 12 appearances this season.