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Flames Ignite in Second to Burn Bolts

Throughout the week, there had been much anticipation for tonight’s matchup between the Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the NHL trade deadline looming, the Flames have recently become “sellers”. Although they have been playing well of late, their playoff hopes are slim. Therefore, they have been looking to get what they can now in exchange for players they are likely to lose in free agency in the off-season. One big name floating around was Noah Hanifin. Hanifin is a top defenseman in the prime of his career. And he made his choice destination clear. Tampa Bay. So when would the trade actually happen? Would Hanifin make the trip to Tampa with his Calgary teammates and then just stay here? Maybe we could even have a mid-game trade?

Alas, all hope was dashed early Wednesday evening when the announcement came that Hanifin would actually be going to Las Vegas. And so the Hanifin-less Flames arrived in Tampa Bay tonight to face off against the equally Hanifin-less Lightning.

A Shear Beauty in the First

The teams exchanged chances for the first half of the opening period. Neither found the back of the net. But the Flames would draw first blood. Dryden Hunt scored his second of the season at 11:40 to put Calgary up 1-0.

The Bolts were looking to tie it up and managed to do just that less than three minutes later. The tying goal came from a highly unlikely but most welcome source: Conor Sheary. Sheary came to Tampa in the off-season with hopes that he would fill the void left by the loss of Alex Killorn. It has not worked out as planned. Sheary came into tonight with just a single goal all season long. But he doubled that total when he tapped home a feed from Nick Paul. You could see the shear(y) joy and relief as Conor celebrated his second of the season and a 1-1 tie.

Defensive Lapses Plague Bolts in Second

The Lightning defense did not look good to start the second. Several miscues and turnovers ultimately led to a Flames goal at 6:11.

Moments later, another turnover in their own zone found the back of the net and the Flames took a 3-1 lead. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the Flames struck again less than a minute later. Jakob Pelletier scored his first of the season unassisted. The Lightning challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but they would lost that challenge. Calgary to the power play with a 4-1 lead.

The Bolts did get a good shorthanded chance, but Anthony Cirelli was hauled down on a breakaway. Fans wanted a penalty shot but had to settle for a regular penalty call to even things up with some four on four hockey.

The Bolts did manage a goal just after the power play ended. Anthony Cirelli scored to pull his team within two.

An abysmal second period came to an end with the Flames leading the Lightning 4-2.

New Period, More of the Same

For those looking for the Lightning to come out with new energy in the final frame, this period would quickly become a disappointment.

Yet another defensive zone giveaway. This time, former Bolt Blake Coleman took advantage as he notched his 26th of the season just over six minutes in to restore Calgary’s three-goal cushion.

With just under eight minutes remaining, Coach Jon Cooper pulled the goalie in favor of an extra attacker. Calgary quickly scored into the empty net.

Mikey Eyssimont scored a goal to pull the Lightning within 3. But that was all she wrote. Just a disappointing performance all around for the boys in blue tonight.

For those looking for a positive in this one… the Bolts did great in the faceoff circle!

Three Stars

1- Yegor Sharangovich- 2 goals, 2 assists- 4 points

2- Jonathan Huberdeau- 2 assists

3- Conor Sheary- 1 goal, 1 assist- 2 points

Up Next

The Bolts are back in action Saturday night as the Philadelphia Flyrs come to town. Game time is 7pm. The Bolts will look to avenge their recent loss in Philadelphia.


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