Flames make 3-D work in Vancouver
SAN JOSE, CA -- Mark Giordano has experienced a lot in his seven-plus years in the National Hockey League.
Skating as one of just three defencemen isn’t one of them.
But Giordano, a veteran of 416 career games with the Calgary Flames, can scratch that one off his list after he, TJ Brodie and Dennis Wideman each logged massive minutes in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
“Not playing in the NHL, for sure, where one D-man has to stay on for two shifts at a time and then the other guys switching on and off,” Giordano admitted. “It was different. I think we did a good job of it. I think Wides did a good job on the right side. He played that smart type of game where he didn’t overexert himself but he played some big minutes so that was huge for us.”
Ladislav Smid and Chris Butler were shown the door just two seconds into the game for their part in Saturday’s brawl in Vancouver. Forwards Kevin Westgarth and Blair Jones joined the pair in their early exit, too.
With just four rearguards remaining, Shane O’Brien found himself tagged with a 10-minute misconduct for his jawing opposite Zack Kassian at 11:27, forcing a rotation of Giordano, Brodie and Wideman to go it alone for half of the first period.
It didn’t leave a lot of coaching options for Bob Hartley, who at times was down to eight forwards in the game, too.
“That’s as short a bench as you can have and the guys kept going,” he said. “We never missed a beat. I thought that our players deserved to get the win. It’s too bad. We got a point. We should have got two.”
‘You basically just roll. The good part is that Brods can log so much ice time but Wides did great and so did Gio. They just maneuver around.”
The result was a new personal best for the trio.
Giordano’s 33:32, offset by four different minor penalties totalling eight minutes, was a new career high, as was Brodie’s 35:42. Wideman not only set a new mark at 38:05, but logged the most amount of ice time in a regular season game since Adrian Aucoin registered 38:21 as a member of the New York Islanders over 11 years ago. O’Brien’s 21:26 was also a season-high for the 30-year-old, too.
Understandably, the group didn’t take the optional skate on Sunday before heading to San Jose.
The challenge from the night before was more than enough, anyway.
“It was tough because you almost forget that there’s only three of you,” Giordano said. “Once one guy changes, your instinct is to change too with him and you can’t because there is no one else to go.
“There was a couple (of times) but when you’re down to three, you can’t really jump in or anything unless there’s a real good opportunity and just try to move the puck quick and play it smart.”