Flames sweep split squad games over Islanders
CALGARY — Led by two goals from Dennis Wideman, a Calgary Flames split squad scored four times in the second period Tuesday night on its way to a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders split squad in NHL pre-season action.
The Islanders struck first when Michael Grabner raced in and wired a wrist shot into the top corner on Joey MacDonald just three minutes into the game.
However, Calgary took over the game in the second period scoring four straight goals to jump in front 4-1.
TJ Galiardi, Lance Bouma and Curtis Glencross into an empty net also scored for Calgary, which also beat the Islanders 4-2 in another split squad game in Regina.
The Flames played their fourth and fifth games of the pre-season and improved to 3-2.
Griffin Reinhart, New York’s fourth overall pick in 2012, and Riley Wetmore also scored for the Islanders, who were playing their first two pre-season games.
Tied 1-1, Wideman scored his first of two goals at 7:39 on a long shot from the blue-line that deflected off an Islander and past goaltender Kevin Poulin.
The goal came shortly after Wideman threw a text book hip check along the side boards that sent Cal Clutterbuck upside down and drew a loud cheer out of those in attendance at the half-filled Scotiabank Saddledome.
Wideman added his second goal later in the second on a five-on-three power play. Showing tremendous patience, Wideman moved into the low slot and waited for an opening before zipping a shot past Anders Nilsson, who replaced Poulin halfway through the period.
Galiardi, a Calgary native who also played for the Western Hockey League’s Hitmen, added another power-play goal 48 seconds later and it was a beauty as he neatly stepped around Nilsson in close and zipped a shot under the crossbar. Galiardi was acquired by the Flames from San Jose in July in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.
Galiardi was the best player on the ice all night. He also made a strong play along the boards to set up Wideman’s first goal. In one rush, he made a pretty toe drag move and nearly snapped in a goal.
He has been converted to centre by Flames coach Bob Hartley as Calgary is lacking depth at that position and, so far, it’s been a success.
In the other split squad game taking place in Regina, Sean Monahan scored two goals to lead the Flames to a 4-2 win over the Islanders.
Matt Stajan and Mikael Backlund each had a goal for the Flames and Corban Knight set up two. Also assisting were Ben Hanowski, David Jones, Emile Poirier and Sven Baertschi.
John Tavares and Matt Moulson each had a goal and an assist for New York. Colin McDonald and Lubomir Visnovsky picked up assists.
After a scoreless first, the Flames lit the Islanders up for four goals in the second.
Monahan started the scoring a minute in when he wheeled around New York’s Travis Hamonic, took a pass from Knight and wired a wrist shot over Evgeni Nabokov’s shoulder.
On the very next shift Monahan was called for interference and on the ensuing power play New York captain Tavares banged in a rebound to tie the game 1-1.
It was all Calgary after that as the Flames responded with three straight goals.
Stajan got the go-ahead goal when he snuck the puck through a crowd and under Nabokov, who was replaced a few shifts later by Ken Reiter.
Backlund gave Calgary a two-goal lead when he scored on his own rebound and Monahan buried a loose puck in front to make it 4-1 after two periods.
Matt Moulson added one more for New York early in the third on a nice set up from Tavares.
Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo made 21 saves on the night, two of which were sensational.
Nabokov took the loss for the Islanders.
The matchup marked the first pre-season game for the Islanders and the fourth for the Flames, who lost to 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators Monday night in Saskatoon 4-2.
The last time a pre-season NHL game was played in Regina was 2009 when Ottawa beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in front of 6,450 fans.
Not nearly that many showed up for this game. The attendance was never announced but the managers of the Brandt Centre told reporters 4,189 tickets were sold.