The Calgary Flames got off the mat in the third period of their Game 5 against Dallas last night. Trailing 1-0 and winning at home in the series for seven thirds, things were looking pretty grim. However, the Stars can never score enough points to ever knock out a team, no matter how great Jake Oettinger plays at the net. Mikael Backlund brought home a gorgeous Andrew Mangiapane feed through the woods to tie:
And then Mangiapane took matters into his own hands a few minutes later, using a turnover in the neutral zone to develop that marker ball to beat Oettinger and deliver the winner:
However, the true story of the Flames was told in the stands. It’s always harrowing to see the Red Mile recover when the Flames make the playoffs. It feels like almost everyone in the Saddledome stands not only wearing red, but also wearing a Flames jersey. But in last night’s third period, TV coverage focused on one particular couple or duo or something else (it wasn’t easy to tell) as the Flames turned the series on its head:
That was after Backlund equalized, and the first conclusion most would jump to is that our woman here is just amusing the guy to her right on his big night (plus, she wasn’t the woman Dexter was tempted to do in Season 2 led?). But look closer, you know this face. Backlund only scored to make it 1-1. The Flames are struggling to score all series. She knows there is still a long way to go and so much can go wrong. She’s certainly relieved, but she’s not selling at this moment. It’s not as if the Flames’ playoff history or reputation inspires much confidence in the future. And she just can’t stand the unbridled excitement of her companion. It will hex it!
Also, she’s got that expression we’ve all seen where she’s spent the night getting explanations for offside and gross penalties and she KNOWS DAMN. She’s also come to the realization that she’s come to Calgary’s biggest event in years with a pumped-back hat, and no one ever enjoys that realization.
But when Mangiapane scored the winner, it was clearly too much:
Even as the Flames season was being redefined, their decision to enter the game with that streak outweighed everything. Look, we had all the companions to games we wanted to go to and couldn’t find anyone except someone we weren’t confident we could spend three hours or nine innings next to. Or we were sure we couldn’t. Here she saw the most important Flames goal in a while, spotted by Sigma Alpha Fuckwit. She will tell her friends she was there for years and cut it out, but deep down she will know what the experience was really like. You can see the fading light in her eyes. You can feel the dread she has to hear how important that goal was and what a season Mangiapane has had on the drive home or going to the bar knowing all this. She knows Mangiapane is a post-season RFA, but she knows that’s a concern for another day. There’s one more win in this series, and an epic Battle of Alberta could await. The Avs are still a long way off.
And all of that goes away if you get through it all with just this guy. We all make our own decisions. Was it worth it? In time she will believe that. The Night Mangiapane saved the flames. But it’s hard to see this oasis in the moment when Douche Canoe’s arm is screaming around you in your ear. She looks for it in the distance. You’ll make it, ma’am. We promise.