Welcome back hockey fans! After having a nice long break for the NHL’s All Star Festivities, I know I was ready for some good ol’ fashioned hockey to come back. However, I wasn’t expecting the insane level of intensity that that we got from some of these games. For those of you who watched, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. For those that didn’t, GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR, AND WATCH THESE HIGHLIGHTS!!! Holy shit, did we have a crazy couple of days in the league. The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers had themselves a crazy, nasty couple of games against each other. The Battle for Alberta, as Don Cherry and Co. so eloquently put, was definitely that. 2 games against each other in 4 days leads to a ton of bad blood.
The first of two games saw the Flames win 4-3 in the shootout. This was the game that started the the fued. The entire game was back and forth. Flames score, Oilers answer. Flames score, period ends. Oilers score in the second, Flames answer, period ends again. Back and forth throughout the entire game. Going into into the last 10 minutes of the third, Calgary held a 3-2 lead. Matt Benning made a spectacular move along the right side wall in the offensive zone, through the legs, and sank the shot five hole on Rittich. Overtime was just as exciting as the game itself, with more back and forth action. However, neither team could score, so the game had to be decided in the shootout. The final save of the game saw David Rittich, goalie for the Flames make a diving poke check on Leon Draisaitl. After the stop, Rittich threw his stick in the air and stared down Draisaitl as he skated away. What a power move on his part. However, a few days later, Edmonton would ge the last laugh.
The second game was won easily by the Oilers 8-3. However this was the game that everyone’s frustrations boiled over. The two teams combined for 102 penalty mintues in the game, most of which came from the crazy ass line brawl that came towards the end of the second period. There was even a goalie fight!!! Mike Smith and Cam Talbot duked it out, but Smith easily took care of Talbot. Both goalies received a game misconduct for the fight. Edmonton peppered the Flames goalies with 49 shots. David Rittich was pulled after allowing 4 goals in 24 minutes of play, and Leon Draisaitl called him out after the game. Your move Rittich.
If this is how the second half of the season is going to be, SIGN.ME.UP. These are but two games from the wonderful slate of games that have already been played. Boston and Winnipeg played a gritty game, with Boston coming out on top 2-1. Tuukka Rask has an amazing performance after coming back from concussion protocol, with a 34 save performance. The guy was locked in. Maybe, just maybe, it knocked the choking habit out of his head. Hopefully.Another great game was the Pens and Caps the other night. Pens won that one 4-3. If you aren’t ready for the rest of the season, buckle up, shit’s about to get bumpy.
Credit to Tim Campbell and the NHL for the Featured Photo.