Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic
Montréal Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames @ McMahon Stadium, Calgary, Alberta
With a Tokyo Police Club opening ("Your English Is Good" is one of my favourite songs of theirs), Five For Fighting doing a number (and giving a shout out to his favourite team, the LA Kings), Paul Brandt singing 'O Canada', and Metric being the second-intermission show, the NHL Heritage classic goes really close to as planned in Calgary, Alberta. I love the people who arranged for the musical entertainment!!
Funny how things go as planned for the Heritage Classic but not much goes right for the Winter Classic. But outdoor games aren't always perfect.
The Heritage Classic didn't go off right away, but it did start not long after the scheduled time. The ice held up really nicely for warm-ups and whatnot, but when the opening puck-drop was about to happen, there had to be a quick repair in one of the corners. A little time for irony to make an appearance. The players benches - which are heated internally - were too hot for the players to sit on before the game officially started. Many of the players on both teams were standing up while many of the standing would've gladly taken their spots. But no, the players chose to stand in the -8.6 weather than sit on the positive temperature bench. (At least -8.6 isn't too bad, eh? A little chilly, but not horribly cold.)
Once the puck did drop and the game did start the game played to the hype. The speed and quick action of the game was electrifying!
But to play to the home crowd, the Calgary Flames get the opening goal. Put on the PP, Rene Bourque plays to his skills as not only a good scorer but also a very skilled passer as he sends the rubber disk to an awaiting Jarome Iginla where the puck went right to him and bounced into the back of the net. The already electric, heated group of Flames fans in the stands gained even more energy and heated excitement as the roar soared around the stadium!
Speaking of Rene Bourque, he played a really good game. In the first period alone Bourque had six shots on goal. Some of those shots were really good scoring chances as well! Now if that doesn't show how into the game Bourque is, then I don't know what. In this outdoor game, he had the spicy stick and was the one getting a lot of attention.
Partway through the second period, the Canadiens got a little fire in their skates and started to tear up the ice more than they had in the first. After one period, the Habs were outshot 8-19, but in the second period the Habs did the outshooting with 21-11 shots-on-goal. But despite that, they end up going down by three.
When Montreal was awarded a break with a PP, the Flames PK unit did some good work. Three of the Montreal PP unit were puck-following and left a lane open for Anton Babchuk to get the pass from Curtis Glencross and Babchuk one-times it for the Flames' second goal! And then it keeps on going for the Flames as the Habs let up just a little bit. After the spirit was shot by the second Calgary goal (which shouldn't have happened) Bourque got his second goal of the night and his 100th NHL goal as he tumbled to the ground.
Now as much as I love my Habs, I have to criticise their play after the second Calgary goal. Montreal's spirit appeared to have been diminished by the goal. When you go down by two with still half a game of hockey left, you can't get down on yourselves. Carey Price kept the Habs in it and fought hard (maybe the hardest fighting player on the Habs roster in this game) and despite having a good second period prior to that goal, you can't get down because of a goal. There is still a lot of hockey to be played.
But the hole just kept on getting bigger. Nearly a minute after the teams switched ends half-way through the third, Alex Tanguay got the puck from Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrison to score Calgary's fourth goal of the game. Congrats to Miikka Kiprusoff for his 39 save shutout. And congrats on a very good Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic!
(1) Miikka Kiprusoff
(2) Rene Bourque
(3) Alex Tanguay
My 3 stars:
(1) Rene Bourque
(2) Miikka Kiprusoff
(3) Carey Price
Now that it's over, let's relive the game through pictures! First, some of my musical favourites and fan appreciation!
Tokyo Police Club!:
Now the action on the ice: