Coming home after a disaster of a road trip, the Flames legitimately more than any time this season needed to show up. With all that’s happened this season, the Flames had a four game winning streak at home coming into tonight which is kind of surprising to think about. Circling the Flames all day long was a very convincing theme that revolved around questions like this:
“How bad would the Flames get trounced at home by the league’s top team?”
The answer: they took a time machine back to last season, replaced the entire team with last year’s, and won the game.
The first period was the most cliche experience that is Calgary Flames hockey this season. 1:48 into the period Jason Spezza put an absolutely unforgivable goal past Ramo. If you looked up Karri Ramo in a dictionary, the very definition of that goal would be used. Remise that they were with surrendering the first goal, small bouts of actual life appeared thanks to veteran Matt Stajan and plucky rookie Sam Bennett. An unlucky bounce off Dougie Hamilton’s skate (seriously it was unlucky and he was trying) gave the Stars would finish the period up 2-0 with the Flames on the PP.
The second period started with the Flames looking to capitalize on their league-worst power play. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as Mark Giordano’s knack for penalties this season reared it’s ugly head. Thankfully the Stars didn’t capitalize and take it to the league’s worst penalty kill either. Somewhere, mid-period, the Flames started showcasing elements fans hadn’t seen in forever. Driven initially by the Ferland – Stajan – Colborne line, the team started generating chances but they yielded no goals.
The chances kept coming but eventually the wheels fell off the bus again as Mattias Janmark torched Ramo to make it 3-0 on a beauty wraparound goal. Even with that goal making it 3-0, the Flames continued to come at the Stars but they couldn’t buy a goal even if they had Safeway’s $1,000,000 Score and Win prize.
The period ended with the following results, of which were very surprising:
- Five posts hit in the period
- Four high danger scoring chances
- 14 scoring chances
- 26 shot attempts for, 10 against
All scoring chances and shot attempt data is from even strength.
Riding the fervent push of what was likely score effects, the Flames continued their push in the third period with such ferocity that likely wasn’t considered possible. They were rewarded with their efforts, particularly Mikael Backlund who finally solved Antti Niemi. 1:50 later it would be Johnny Hockey himself with his sixth of the season to put the Flames within one goal.
— Bobby Stretch Pass (@bookofloob) December 2, 2015
A John Klingberg delay-of-game call would send the Flames back to the man-advantage, with slightly better results than before but no PP marker. The Flames cemented their three-goal comeback in the third with Dougie Hamilton’s third of the season to send this to overtime.
In OT, the Stars found chances early but nothing really came of it for either team. The Flames best chance in 3-on-3 came from a Hamilton cycle-play that fed a Mark Giordano shot. In the shootout all three of Calgary’s shooters found the back of the net to finalize the comeback over Dallas.
All numbers are even strength from Natural Stat Trick
WHY THE FLAMES WON?
Score effects coupled with a variety of factors. Primarily the Dallas defense was getting caught flatfooted, they had lapses in their own zone, and the Flames eventually capitalized on the chances that had avoided them for much of the season. Calgary managed to recover from a tire-fire level start to the game and kept at it.
For all the pushing of narratives about wanting it more, never quitting, and finding ways to create chances they essentially did those things tonight. It was classic 2014-15 Calgary Flames hockey and the fans were justly treated to it.
They overcame atrocious goaltending but they still lack regulation wins. Of the nine victories this season, three came in regulation.
Literally we have a three or so guys to choose from here but we’re going with Mikael Backlund. We know he isn’t putting up huge numbers or anything close to the pace he should be at. Tonight he was an insane driver of play at even strength. His seven individual shot attempts, seven scoring chances (four were high-danger), and goal were a huge reason why the Flames’ comeback happened.
He did all that with 12:57 of ice time, 56% in the ol’ faceoff dot, and and four shots on net. His effort on driving the net and not quitting on that goal was crucial.
The Flames have game two of five at home against the Boston Bruins. With a five-game winning streak at home now, they’ll look to defend that as Bruins are currently on a five-game winning streak of their own.