If there’s one thing that’s been a constant during a difficult 2013-14 season for the Calgary Flames, it has been the club’s combative spirit and never quit attitude. It was in evidence again against the New York Islanders, as the home side delighted their faithful fans by staging a furious third period rally to stun the visitors by a 4-3 count. The Flames have now won seven of their last eight contests at the Saddledome and were a perfect 2-0 on this current mini homestand that also featured a 4-1 triumph against the Ottawa Senators.
Joe Colborne netted a pair of goals in the final frame, while standout rookie Sean Monahan netted his 19th goal of the season as the Flames rallied from down 3-1 in the final nine minutes to earn the victory. The 24-year-old Colborne has netted three goals in his last two games, while the 19-year-old Monahan has been everything the organization could have hoped for this season and has the look of a future star. He plays with a poise and maturity beyond his years.
Markus Granlund netted his second goal in as many games and hasn’t looked out of place in the five games he’s played since getting the call-up from the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. Fans definitely needed a program to keep tabs on the home side, as the Flames iced a lineup that featured eight rookies as many of their young farm hands are getting a taste of what life is like at the highest level.
Rookie goaltender Joni Ortio picked up his second straight victory and also added his first career assist, as he’s carrying the load these days with Karri Ramo still sidelined due to injury and Reto Berra dealt to the Colorado Avalanche on trade deadline day.
The Flames improved to 25-31-7 on the season and are just playing out the string to another non-playoff campaign. However, fans getting a glimpse of all the young talent in the organization have to be enjoying what they’ve been seeing. The team competes at a very high level on a nightly basis and head coach Bob Hartley and his staff should be commended for that.
It’s going to take some time during this major rebuild before the Flames are able to make some noise in the very difficult Western Conference, but through their work ethic and never-say-die attitude, the team is providing plenty of entertainment these days to keep bringing their fans coming back for more.