Post-Game: Flames Beat The Champs

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(Sergei Belski – USA Today Sports)

On Sunday, the Calgary Flames lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago.

They weren’t very good that night. They got a goal and then faded, allowing the Blackhawks – who are pretty good – to take over the game. Tonight, the Flames hosted the Blackhawks. Many felt that the Flames were in line for a spanking. Instead, the local hockey club played easily their best game of the season. They were strong for three periods – even when they were out-shot in the second – and won a thriller in overtime for a 2-1 decision.

The Flames improve to 8-12-1 and are now 5-0 in three-on-three overtime. More importantly, they followed a pretty good game against New Jersey on Tuesday with a complete game against Chicago.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames took it to a shaky Blackhawks team in the first period, out-shooting them 13-7 in the period. They didn’t get too many great scoring chances, but they finally broke through with a goal on Scott Darling mid-way through the period. Sean Monahan won a face-off, Johnny Gaudreau passed it to the point for Kris Russell. Russell shot it at Darling (with Mason Raymond screening). Darling made the initial save, but Monahan tucked the rebound past Darling to make it 1-0. That lead didn’t last long, though, as Artem Anisimov scored 13 seconds into a Blackhawks power-play – Dougie Hamilton was off for holding the stick – to tie it up.

Oh yeah, before Calgary scored, Karri Ramo made a save.

Neither team scored in the second or third periods. Shots were 8-4 for Chicago in the second (17-13 in terms of shot attempts), as both teams played tight defensive hockey. Chicago didn’t seem to engage very much, possibly because they felt it would leave them vulnerable to Calgary’s odd-man rushes. Either way, it was the sleepiest period of the game, but at least the Flames gave up zero goals.

The third period was awesome hockey. It was end-to-end, primarily with the Flames pushing towards Chicago’s end. Gaudreau had a ton of time in the offensive end but couldn’t bury anything. Calgary’s defenders really jumped into the rush – showing remarkable energy given that Kris Russell left after the first period. Chicago was very fortunate to be tied. Shots were 14-4 and shot attempts were 20-12, both in favour of Calgary. But since it was tied after regulation, we went to overtime.

And then Johnny Gaudreau was unleashed in overtime. After a few nice chances on prior overtime shifts for the Flames, this is what ended the game.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Engelland 60% 83.33%
Bennett 50% 77.78%
Bollig 47.62% 75%
Wideman 47.37% 71.43%
Russell 66.67% 66.67%
Hamilton 60.53% 66.67%
Frolik 52% 62.5%
Gaudreau 66.67% 60%
Monahan 65.71% 60%
Ferland 55% 60%
Raymond 67.86% 58.33%
Backlund 52.17% 55.56%
Jooris 39.29% 50%
Giordano 55.56% 29.41%
Brodie 56.9% 28.57%
Colborne 57.89% 22.22%
Jones 62.5% 22.22%
Stajan 50% 20%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames won because they played their game the way they were supposed to be playing it all season. They threw hits on the forecheck to get the puck. They held onto the puck when they did grab it and made things happen. And even when they had some adversity – in the form of Kris Russell leaving via injury and the Chicago power-play goal that tied the game late in the first – they didn’t fall apart like they have in the past.

There was something to like about basically every Flames player tonight. That’s rarely been the case this season. They played a strong three(-plus) period effort tonight and made the Stanley Cup champions seem ordinary. Heck, even-strength shots were 37-14. That’s impressive against any team, let alone one that out-played the Flames so thoroughly on Sunday.

Well-done, gentlemen.

RED WARRIOR

Johnny Gaudreau played 20:33, had 6 shots, had an assist on Calgary’s first goal and scored their second goal. He was +2 and was generally dangerous and poised whenever he had the puck – which was a lot.

Other players who were good: T.J. Brodie (played 31 minutes), Dougie Hamilton (+2 in 20+ minutes), Mark Giordano (25 minutes), Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond, Josh Jooris… Heck, most of the team was good tonight.

UP NEXT

The Flames are off for a couple of days – make sure to head down to the Red Rally fan event at the ‘Dome tomorrow from 10-to-4 – and then it’s off to Anaheim for a game Tuesday at the Honda Center, where they haven’t won a game for a million kabillion years.

  • MattyFranchise

    I liked the new top line a lot. All three of them were dangerous the entire game.

    Not to mention this was probably one of Gaudreau’s best games this season if not the best.

  • DestroDertell

    3 things:

    1- Raymond is playing very well this season. Well, when he gets to play, that is.

    2- Great win, but I’m bothered by Hamilton’s ice-time. Especially when compared to Wideman: Wideman gets 24 minutes, Hamilton only 20. WTF. Does ‘Artley really thinks Wideman is better than Hamilton or he likes seeing them shots as far from the net as possible?

    3- Losing Russell and Hudler… was probably addition by substraction? Considering how much they’ve sucked yet loved by Hartley, yes it was. Did anyone really feel like we missed them?

    • Willi P

      Raymond wasn’t really noticeable until the third. That is his problem, why he doesn’t play. His effort is inconsistent.

      Wideman had a good game last night, better than the Captain. He seems play better when they have to lean on him for more minuets. Hamilton is getting better but I have no problem with Wideman getting more minuets last night, he was engaged and hitting.

      Russell has been playing better of late and is still better than any #6 option this team has. Not sure what is up with Hudler this year though. Took a “personal reasons” day off Thursday then was “sick” last night. Think there might be something at home throwing his game off this year.

      • cberg

        No, Raymond was actually pretty good all game. He was the guy screening Chicago’s goalie and generally causing havoc when Monaghan picked up Darling’s rebound and scored. There were several other instances where he was paying the price in front of the net or in the corners which was great to see.

        • Willi P

          I see the play dying on his stick way too often. Tries to be too fancy and loses possession. Perhaps it is timing from not playing. I think he needs to simplify his game a little, but just my opinion.

  • beloch

    Gaudreau’s undressing of Seabrook to score the OT winner was fantastic. Brodie played an unreal number of minutes. Backlund was a beast in the faceoff circle. It all would have mattered not one bit if Ramo hadn’t delivered a quality start. Good game! I hope it’s a portent of things to come!

  • RKD

    Went to the game and it was pretty rowdy. The Flames outplayed the Hawks tonight and had a lot of scoring chances. The Hawks only had 19 shots on goal and a lot of their play seemed very pedestrian, not the same team that scored 3 goals in 1:55 on Sunday. If it weren’t for Darling, the score might be a whole lot different. The Flames are only 4 games away from .500, they can catch up in the standings.

  • RKD

    Man, what a game.

    Lots of praise for the players, but once again Brodie was magic. The dude is unreal. I wouldn’t swap him for any other defenceman in the league. Trash away if you want, but you know it to be true.

    Also, Hamilton was looking great. And I think it was the best game Monahan had played this season. And what do you even say at this point about Johnny?

    And is it just me, or were we better without Russel and Hudler?

  • knappsacked

    Ramo’s thoughts while making that save…. ” not in maaa house, biyatch”

    Reminded me a little bit of kippers scorpion saves…only…not as kipper-y

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Shout out to Colburne, Stajan and Jones. 20% ZS and 50% or much better possession stats. Also, that was Ramo’s best game of the year.
    And of course Gaudreau who undressed both Keith and Seabrook in the same game. Great game. GFG!

  • Mullen7

    While I don’t wish injury on anyone, I was a bit relieved that Russell is likely out of the lineup and it will force Hartley to do something different. Was getting excited about seeing a Stockton call up before I realized it will probably be Smid slotting in. Oh well – hopefully this won’t mess with the budding chemistry in our d-corps.

  • Byron Bader

    Gaudreau was fantastic in OT and a lot of fun to watch. Not sure why there is so much dislike for Russell the guy blocks more shots than Ramo sometimes. I am hoping for a renewed rivalry with the Oilers and it would be us fans that benefit the most. I am not a Flame fan or hater nor a troll but watch your team play a lot and want to offer an objective opinion without being condescending or a wiseguy. I don’t mind piling on the Canucks though I can’t stand the arrogance of their fans who’s team has never won anything of note and probably won’t for the foreseeable future either. Gotta love it!