From the moment the starters took to center ice, you knew something was about to go down. The two respective teams sent out the group that no one would miss in case a certain series of events transpired, like, you know, ye olde LINE BRAWL!
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley sent out a line full of enforcers, allowing John Tortorella to counter with his own band of hobos on skates (We might as well embrace that one). Kevin Bieksa skated in to take the face-off, along with Dale Weise, Jason Garrison, Tom Sestito and even Kellan Lane, making his NHL debut.
Two seconds, 142 penalty minutes, eight ejections. Now, if you don't think that's starting a game off with a bang, then there is just no hope in pleasing you.
The remainder of the opening period was irrelevant, especially considering what happened next. During the first intermission, Tortorella finally lost it. Cameras caught Torts literally trying to fight his way into the Flames dressing room, clearly irate from the events to start the night. He had to be restrained by players and coaches, simultaneously breaking Twitter during the meltdown. Don't be surprised if a suspension is coming his way.
In the second period, fans were finally treated to the sport involving skating and shooting a puck at a net, rather than the one with bells and gloves. Just ninety seconds in and three seconds into a power play, the Flames opened the scoring off a sloppy face-off win in Vancouver's zone. The puck trickled across to Mark Giordano who wristed it past Luongo for the opening goal. Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time.
Just two minutes later, the Canucks managed to even up the scoring as Ryan Kesler tipped in his 18th goal of the season off a pass in on net by Zack Kassian. After being outscored 11-1 in their previous three games, the goal was a welcome sight for a team where struggling to score goals has become an understatement.
With three minutes left in the second period, a vicious wrist shot off the stick of Jason Garrison nearly gave the Canucks the lead, but the post had other ideas. The Flames had one more chance on net in the final minute of the period, but Luongo was able to slide quickly to his right to keep the game tied heading into the intermission.
No scrums in the hallway by the dressing rooms? Fantastic, let's proceed.
Four minutes into the third period, Matt Stajan skated in and scooped up a trickling center pass for the go-ahead goal, his seventh of the season. The puck partially tipped off of Kassian's stick, but neither Kass nor Chris Tanev set up in front of the shot were able to stop Stajan from giving the Flames the lead with 16 minutes to play.
Midway through the third period, the Canucks went to the power play, looking for the game-tying goal. Now I know what you're thinking here. "Need a goal" and "power play" aren't exactly two terms that go together well for this team. Lo and behold, the fellas proved it wrong at the most convenient of times. Face-off won by Kesler? Check. Pass across to Yannick Weber towards the top of the zone? Check. Blistering slap shot into the net? Check. Weber's slap shot power play goal, mere seconds into the advantage, tied up the game at 2-2 with 8:12 remaining in the game.Neither side would be able to tack on another goal, so onward to overtime we went.
The Canucks had the chance to end things when a punishing hit from David Booth freed up the puck for Jannik Hansen with no one between him and a chance at a game-winner. Except that one minor skill of puck posession. Hansen, probably so shocked at the fact that a goal opportunity had been presented this easily, mishandled the puck, snuffing out his chance to be a hero. No, this one would need to be decided in a shootout.
The Canucks sent Alex Burrows, Weber, Kesler, Kassian and Chris Higgins in as the shooters, while the Flames went with Joe Colborne, Jiri Hudler, Lee Stempniak, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund as theirs.
Colborne opened things up with a goal, handling the puck back and forth quicker than the speed of light, as to say, "Hey, Jannik, this is how you handle a puck!" A simple wrist shot past Luongo, and the Flames had the early shootout lead.
Webber, already with one goal in regulation, added another in the shootout, firing a wrist shot that trickled through the legs of Karri Ramo to even things up.
In the fifth round, Luongo came up with a clutch glove save, snatching Backlund's shot out of thin air to keep things tied. The save set up a game-wining shot off the stick of Chris Higgins, paired with some nifty stick work to deke out Ramo for the win.
After a road trip from hell to Southern California and the desert, the Canucks managed to finally find the back of the net more than just once. Everything the Flames brought, the Canucks were able to counter all the way to the end to earn a desperately needed two points.
The Canucks will take a field trip to Edmonton on Tuesday before returning right back home to Rogers Arena on Thursday to begin a four game homestand.