Post-Game: Flames Edge Devils

After a road trip where they took just two of a possible eight points, I think it’s safe to say that the Calgary Flames really needed a win tonight. In front of a surprisingly boisterous Scotiabank Saddledome – given the opponent, day of week and weather – the Flames weren’t pretty at times, but they managed to skate to a 3-2 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils.

Here’s how it happened.

THE RUNDOWN

Things didn’t look all that good early for the locals. They were hemmed in frequently in their own end and generally looked sub-par, but Karri Ramo was sharp and kept things scoreless. After a couple decent scoring chances – including Josh Jooris getting one off a no-look back-hand feed from Micheal Ferland – the Flames finally broke through. The top line tried to get something going in the offensive end, but finally T.J. Brodie accepted a pass and went for a skate around the zone, finally putting one past Cory Schneider short-side to make it 1-0. The Flames doubled their lead off a dump-in from David Jones; Joe Colborne pressured Schneider behind the net, prompting some fumbling by the Devils netminder and a tap-in goalmouth tally for Matt Stajan. Shots were 7-6 in the first for the Flames, but the Devils had a shot attempt edge (20-13).

Calgary’s iffy defensive zone play continued, with the fourth line getting hemmed in and then trapped off an icing call. Finally, after Mark Giordano saved a goal with a nice defensive play, the team’s inability to clear the zone allowed Bobby Farnham to capitalize on a scramble to make it 2-1. However, the Flames struck back right afterwards, with Stajan’s forecheck creating a turnover which Colborne grabbed and fed to the slot for David Jones for a one-timer goal (and his 100th career tally) to make it 3-1. But the Flames got dragged back into the muck once again, as with Micheal Ferland in the box for interference, Jordin Tootoo buried a nice one-timer feed from Lee Stempniak to make it 3-2 for the home side. Despite being out-scored in the period, the Flames held sway in shots (11-9) and shot attempts (19-13).

Nobody scored in the third period, though both teams had some good chances – mostly the Devils, to be honest. The visitors pushed early and then pushed late with an empty net, though the Flames had a few really strong shifts in the middle of the period. But overall, the Flames had the edge 12-5 in shots and 18-14 in attempts and managed to hold on for the victory.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations) Corsi For% OZStart%
Wideman 66.67% 84.62%
Gaudreau 56.67% 75%
Hudler 73.33% 72.73%
Backlund 58.33% 71.43%
Engelland 68.75% 71.43%
Bennett 65.38% 71.43%
Monahan 50% 65.22%
Hamilton 55% 61.11%
Jones 43.24% 56.25%
Russell 42.86% 46.15%
Frolik 53.85% 45.45%
Brodie 44.44% 42.11%
Giordano 46.34% 38.89%
Colborne 44.44% 33.33%
Jooris 53.33% 25%
Stajan 40.62% 25%
Bollig 54.55% 25%
Ferland 54.55% 25%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Because they managed to score first, build up a lead and hold on for dear life for the rest of the game. They led after the first and second periods, and that should be a receipt for two points. Thankfully, the team managed to defend fairly intelligently in the final period, didn’t give the Devils a whole heck of a lot, and managed to ride out the final period for a victory.

That said, the shots totals – 30-20 for the home side – really flattered them in terms of actual good chances on net. They need to turn their zone time into scary scoring chances if they really want to put some fear into the opposition; a lot of their shots and shot attempts were perimeter attempts.

RED WARRIOR

Because he scored his first goal of the season and doubled his season point totals, I’m going with Matt Stajan. He’s been rock-solid for the Flames as the anchor for the third line, and he was strong on the forecheck all game.

Stick-tap to Sean Monahan, who had an assist and won 72% of his face-offs, and to Joe Colborne for his pair of assists.

UP NEXT

The Flames (7-12-1) are off for a couple days, and then they’re back in action on Friday night for a return engagement with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

  • Cofred24

    Wow! What a game! I saw glimpses of our explosive offence we had last year. This might be a turning point for the season? Just 5 points away from a playoff spot. In Hartley we trust.

  • DestroDertell

    When it came to deployment, Hartley acted like an NHL coach for once and it showed in the underlying numbers and scoreboard. Hope it sticks but I won’t bet on it.

  • cberg

    Pretty solid game, they were really battling for pucks and skating well. Good to see. That Stajan-Colborne-Jones line was outstanding.

    Other teams seem to be REALLY focussing on Gaudreau-Hudler-Monahan versus last year, which is not unexpected. They are working to get their chances. I thought Hudler was more effective tonight than all season, hopefully he can up his game.

  • cberg

    Mark the date. For once I agree with Eric Francis. Giordano looks like maybe he’s fighting an injury. His struggles have been obvious and costly at times. hopefully he regains his Norris form with Brodie, very soon.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It would be great, if that win last night was the result of stealing the Flames Mojo back from NJ. No question who the better team was, and the Flames earned that one.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    One concerning trend that has been true through most of the 20 games this season is how bad the first line has been as a group. It was the one line that was dominated by NJ, even with Hartley providing them 75% ZS (5vs5).
    I’m sure it’s a result of all opponents working to shut the top line down, as a major strategy to beat the Flames. At this point, only Gaudreau has earned his first line minutes, and while many are now pointing at Monahan’s struggles Hudler has been mostly ineffective this season.

    I really wish Hartley would look to shelter Monahan as a 2nd line centre. He’s getting killed.

    • cberg

      I would agree that the first line has failed to get consistent production versus the opposition’s top D, and Hudler, especially has been struggling. Monahan too, though he’s had his chances almost every game. They need to find a way to fight through and they seem to be working hard at it. Of the three I think Hudler is struggling the most.

  • cberg

    Is it just me, or does the puck seem to be settling in front of the Flames’ net a lot more this year? I’m not sure if it’s Ramo’s rebound control, or our D not being able to clear, but the amount of scrambles and scoring chances (2nd and third scoring chances) by the opposition is a bit maddening.

    I’m happy they got the win, but I’d like to see improvement in that area for sure.

  • cberg

    Hartley seems to have got hit on the head and finally did something right.

    Hamilton on the PP, yes please.

    Jones instead of Hudler on the PP, finally!

    Hudler needs to be bumped down the line-up he doesn’t look effective, but limiting some of his PP time with Johnny was the first step.